Cue Health’s new range of tests joins the growing market for home collection

Cue Health (HLTH) has made its name with a rapid at-home COVID-19 test, a device priced at $200, and is releasing 13 new tests this week, though none are compatible with the new device. These at-home kits are processed in a lab, and the results are quickly available on the company’s app.

Cue’s chief medical officer David Tsay told Yahoo Finance that the company is working on further testing of its home device, but these new tests respond to market demand.

“We’re expanding the product menu that works with Cue’s health monitoring system,” Tsay said.

These include a flu test, a combined flu/COVID test and an Mpox test. Clinical trials are also ongoing for RSV, chlamydia and gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) associated with streptococci.

Tsay said the new tests will help expand the product line overall. Many of the tests selected already have some competition in the market, but were in areas the company considered important, such as heart health, men’s and women’s health, metabolic health and wellness.

Cue Health home test

Cue Health home test

The tests can be ordered via the app or website and include everything the lab needs to process.

But these are also own costs, since talks with health insurance companies and state payers are still in progress. Tests start at about $69 for a colon cancer screening and go up to $224 for a women’s health panel. There’s also a Cue+ membership price, which takes a couple of bucks off the price, although the membership itself is $20 a month.

The turnaround times for test results are roughly similar to COVID-19 PCR tests, which were in high demand during the peak of the pandemic. With a normal schedule, the turnaround time can be one to two days, Tsay said.

Laboratory collection kits are not new, but they have garnered increased interest during the pandemic. Where before there were only a handful of players, there are now many – including some of the largest testing companies in the country.

“I think what we’ve seen in the pandemic has really been an acceleration of broader societal trends that were already moving towards more convenient and accessible healthcare,” Tsay said.

Labcorp (LH) CEO Adam Schechter told Yahoo Finance late last year that the lab testing giant has noticed the trend and that at-home collection kits are increasing convenience through the company’s network of physical locations.

“We see that more and more people decide to collect at home,” said Schechter.

Labcorp launched its home kits last year with a wider variety of tests, ranging from $29 to $219.

But Schechter added that the move doesn’t discount doctors as part of the equation.

Tsay, himself a medical doctor, noticed the same thing.

“I think it’s wonderful that consumers now have more and more choices to enable them to access healthcare from the comfort of their own homes,” said Tsay.

He said doctors would ultimately benefit from the lab results because they could speed up the work of diagnosis and treatment.

“I’m hearing from my fellow doctors that much of their healthcare is still being done remotely despite the lifting of pandemic restrictions,” Tsay said.

“Consumers have really become accustomed to having direct access to healthcare and continue to want the convenience of access to healthcare,” he added.

The COVID-19 test remains the company’s most successful product. Even as demand for testing waned, the company formed a relationship with the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services to offer free cue testing to the public.

And while the new tests don’t benefit from the test readers, which cost more than other rapid at-home COVID-19 tests on the market, they give the brand post-IPO potential to be more than just a single-test company in the pandemic, Tsay said.

Cue started 2021 at $16 per share but has fallen into the single digits and has traded in the single digits since May of last year. It’s faring better than other testing companies that have ridden the pandemic wave — some other startup test makers have since filed for bankruptcy.

In third-quarter earnings, Cue reported $69.6 million in revenue for its COVID-19 test, much of which came from private sector customers.

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