Bankrupt poop-testing startup uBiome is shutting down

Hollis Johnson / Business InsiderThe microbiome testing company uBiome has come under scrutiny after an FBI raid.
  • The Silicon Valley microbiome-testing startup uBiome filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month after months of challenges and setbacks.
  • Now, uBiome is shutting down.
  • The startup is converting from chapter 11 to chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means it will cease operations and liquidate, according to documents that Business Insider viewed.
  • uBiome once convinced Silicon Valley that testing poop was worth $US600 million.
  • But insiders previously told Business Insider they questioned the validity of the science behind its products.

After months of challenges and setbacks, the Silicon Valley health startup uBiome is shutting down.

The company could not extend the loans that had been funding its bankruptcy and is now appointing a trustee to oversee its liquidation, according to documents viewed by Business Insider. The plan still requires approval from the bankruptcy court.

“I have to share some bad news,” uBiome said in an email to staff that was seen by Business Insider. “We will not be able to continue to operate as normal because we won’t have the funding.”

uBiome had previously filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, and was looking for a buyer to take over its assets, save jobs, and keep parts of the core business running. That is no longer happening. Instead, the company will close down.

uBiome confirmed the liquidation in a press release shortly after this story was written.

“Management and the independent directors of the Board of uBiome have determined that, without consensus among the Committee, the lenders and the Company, the conversion to a case under Chapter 7 is in the best interests of uBiome and its stakeholders,” the release said.


Read more: uBiome convinced Silicon Valley that testing poop was worth $US600 million. Then the FBI came knocking. Here’s the inside story.

Court documents in uBiome’s initial bankruptcy filing said the company may owe millions of dollars to health insurance companies, and could also face criminal and civil penalties from ongoing investigations related to its billing practices.

The company laid off half its staff this summer. In addition, insiders told Business Insider that the company’s key science was flawed from the start, prompting the company to start an internal investigation. A top science journal where uBiome published its basic research is also investigating.

uBiome raised more than $US100 million from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms on the promise of providing new insights into the microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that live in and on each of us. The startup’s main products evaluated an individual’s microbiome using a sample of their poop.

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