7 updates on the ongoing uBiome investigation

Since the FBI confirmed that it had raided the San Francisco headquarters of uBiome in late April, not only has the lab testing startup been the subject of further investigations by other public and private agencies, but it has also been plagued by leadership shake-ups and revelations about its questionable billing practices.

Here is a timeline of all the news and updates regarding the embattled startup that have arisen in the months since the initial raid.

1. On April 26, the FBI confirmed that it had conducted a search of uBiome headquarters. The Wall Street Journal reported that the California Department of Insurance and insurers such as Anthem, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield were also investigating the startup, stemming from uBiome's alleged history of billing government programs for its tests and paying physicians to order unnecessary tests for patients.

2. Within a week, on May 1, the company announced that it had placed co-CEOs and founders Jessica Richman and Zac Apte on administrative leave. John Rakow, uBiome's general counsel, was named interim CEO, and the board appointed a special committee to oversee an independent internal investigation.

3. As the investigation continued, former patients and unnamed company insiders came forward to discuss uBiome's questionable methods. One patient told CNBC that after he ordered one uBiome test, his insurance was billed for five; insiders claimed that this was standard practice at the startup, and also revealed that physicians were sometimes dismissed if they did not prescribe enough of the expensive tests.

4. On May 6, the company announced that it was temporarily halting clinical operations and refunding any pending out-of-pocket payments. It also suspended sales of its SmartGut and SmartJane tests, which analyze patients' gut and vaginal microbiomes, respectively.

5. Barely two weeks after its formation, the special committee charged with overseeing uBiome's internal investigation dwindled from three members to one, according to a letter sent to shareholders on May 14. With the departures of Witt Wisebram, a uBiome co-founder, and Joseph DeRisi, PhD, a University of California San Francisco professor, from both the committee and the board, Kimmy Scotti, a partner at venture firm 8VC, became the only member of the special committee and the board's only remaining independent director.

6. Billing documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal and described in a June 24 report further illustrate uBiome's allegedly improper billing and prescribing practices. For example, the documents reportedly show that the startup would bill insurers for a lab test of 12 to 25 gastrointestinal pathogens, despite the fact that its tests only included information for about five pathogens.

7. On June 30, a letter sent by the uBiome board's special committee to shareholders revealed that Ms. Richman and Mr. Apte, the company's co-founders, had resigned from the board and that Mr. Rakow had left the company. In his place, the board has appointed three directors from consulting firm Goldin Associates to serve as interim CEO, CFO and COO.

"Though the developments of the past few months have been unexpected and disappointing, we continue to believe in the underlying value of uBiome's technology at a time of growing demand in the market," the June 30 letter read. "We are also confident that uBiome now has the right team and ethical footing in place to move forward as a stronger company."

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