54gene, Nigerian genomics business, has laid off another set of staff in Washington. This time, around 10 employees—or 25% of its already small workforce—were impacted, according to two persons familiar with the incident. The organization currently employs less than 30 individuals across all of its functions.
In an email in response to TechCabal’s question, 54gene acknowledged the latest layoffs.
“54gene’s new leadership is focused on prioritizing the company’s core mission and positioning the company for future success, and that means certain roles were redefined or eliminated in recent months,” the email reads
The 5Gene Laid-Off Story
Due to an almost dried-out runway, 54gene started 2022 with over 300 employees, but by the end of the year, its number had shrunk to only 39. This financial crisis resulted in a down round investment that reduced the company’s valuation from $175 million to $50 million and Abasi Ene-Obong’s departure as co-founder and CEO in October.
Teresia Bost, the organization’s former general counsel, was appointed interim CEO by the board of the firm. To attract more money, the company revealed last week that its management would be completely restructured. Bost has transitioned into an advisory position, and San Francisco-based serial entrepreneur Ron Chiarello is now in charge.
One insider said that the entire marketing, sales, and compliance departments have been disbanded, and their tasks have now been distributed among the surviving staff members and hired outside contractors. The corporation has insisted that its initial area of focus—genomic research—will continue to be its main priority.
There are currently only six individuals managing this core offering, according to a source. In 54gene’s three branches of genomic research—sequencing, biobank, and genotyping—two people are employed in each area.
In the company’s email, it acknowledged that moving forward, “our hiring will align to our core mission,“ so it appears to be aware of this. The business also asserts that its commitments to the impacted employees were met.
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