Genomics-based wellness startup Arivale abruptly shutters

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Arivale, the Seattle-based biotech startup that incorporated gene and blood test data into its wellness coaching services, was abruptly shut down, with all 120 employees let go, on April 24.

A message to users posted on the company's website attributed the closure to the high cost of performing and compiling the tests necessary for its quantitative approach to wellness.

"We believe the costs of collecting the genetic, blood and microbiome assays that form the foundation of the program will eventually decline to a point where the program can be delivered to consumers cost-effectively," the message reads. "However, we are unable to continue to operate at a loss until that time arrives."

CEO Clayton Lewis told GeekWire that while Arivale had raised more than $50 million since its 2015 founding, it was unable to attract enough customers or keep prices high enough to remain afloat. The company served about 5,000 users, and though the initial cost of the program was $3,500 per year, by the end of its tenure, that number had dropped to $99 per month.

Founder Leroy Hood, a pioneer in the study of genomics and chief science officer at the Institute for Systems Biology, will reportedly continue some of Arivale's work at ISB, which is also expected to hire some of the laid-off employees. Additionally, a paper describing the positive results of Arivale's services is still slated for upcoming publication in Scientific Reports.

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