- 23andMe is laying off 100 amid a slowdown in the consumer genetics market, CNBC first reported Thursday.
- The layoffs hit departments across the organisation in an effort to scale back on work that isn’t core to the consumer testing and therapeutics businesses, a company spokesman told Business Insider.
- It’s happening at a time when sales of genetics tests have disappointed, with Wall Street signalling that the consumer genetics “fad” is over.
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DNA-testing giant 23andMe is laying off about 14% of its staff, the latest sign of a slump in the business.
About 100 employees have been let go in departments across the organisation in an effort to scale back on work that isn’t core to the consumer testing and therapeutics businesses that 23andMe operates, a spokesman told Business Insider. The therapeutics team was not impacted by the layoffs, he said.
CNBC’s Christina Farr reported on the layoffs earlier on Thursday.
23andMe will also be scaling back on its work recruiting for clinical trials, the spokesman said.
Over the past few years, genetic tests have grown in popularity. That’s helped consumer genetics companies like 23andMe grow to 10 million users who’ve shipped off their spit with the hopes of learning more about their family trees, genetic traits, or even some health information.
Still, for years, it seemed like interest in genetic testing was only increasing. But in 2019, the companies started to run into a slowdown.
The first warning was raised by Illumina, the company that makes all the tech that’s used to read info about your genes. On an earnings call in July, the company noted “softness” in the market.
And in December, Veritas Genetics, a company that provides whole-genome sequencing for $US600, said it had suspended its US operations, citing issues raising additional funding.
“It’s a new technology, and I think it’s hit a lull,” 23andMe CEOAnne Wojcicki told Business Insider in an October interview on the sidelines of a conference.
She attributed that in large part to privacy concerns coming in from the tech industry, or what she calls the “Facebook Effect.”
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