Startup offering low-cost genomic sequencing ceases US operations

Andrea Park - Print  | 

Veritas Genetics, a startup offering consumers and healthcare organizations whole genome sequencing and interpretation for $599, ceased U.S. operations on Dec. 4, citing an "adverse financing situation."

The Danvers, Mass.-based startup made the announcement in a message emailed to customers that was later shared on Twitter. "Due to an unexpected adverse financing situation, we have been forced to suspend our operations in the U.S. for the time being. We are currently assessing all paths forward, including strategic options," the message read in part.

Another message issued shortly after the first clarified that only U.S. operations were being shuttered: "All of the customers outside of the U.S. will continue to be served by Veritas Europe/LATAM," it read.

The announcement followed layoffs of about 50 U.S. employees earlier this week, a source told CNBC. The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the company, said the "adverse financing situation" was linked to the fact that Veritas' primary investors are based in China; potential new investors were reportedly reluctant to get involved with a company that would therefore be subjected to increased government oversight.

Veritas Genetics was founded in 2014 by genomics pioneer George Church, PhD, and several other scientists. The company differentiated itself from other direct-to-consumer DNA testing startups by emphasizing the actionable medical insights that could be derived from its whole genome sequencing, compared to the more limited genotyping services offered by 23andMe, Ancestry and others.

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