23andMe has laid off 100 employees across its consumer business, the genomics company confirmed to MobiHealthNews.
This news come amidst disappointing sales numbers, according to CNBC, which first reported the story. In an interview with CNBC’s Chrissy Farr, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki discussed potential factors contributing to what she sees as a market cooldown, top of the list being customers' privacy concerns.
WHY IT MATTERS
As one of the largest consumer genomic platforms in the country, 23andMe has been under the microscope for some time now. Privacy has often been the top concern for customers and lawmakers alike.
In 2017 Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) wrote a letter to the FCC urging the organization to investigate and ensure that privacy policies are clear, transparent and fair to consumers.
23andMe isn’t the only genomics company feeling the punch. Over the summer DNA sequencing company Illumina noted that its consumer genomics business was slowing, providing some credence to Wojcicki's claim that interest in the consumer genomics space is winding down.
THE LARGER TREND
While 23andMe is best known for its consumer genomics offerings, it has also been teaming up with life science companies. In September the company inked a deal with TrialSpark, a health tech platform that lets providers become clinical trial sites, connecting their customers to the latter’s trial network.
One of its biggest pharma deals came from GlaxoSmithKline, which invested $300 million in the company to gain exclusive access to the company’s DNA database.