Washington-based Nigerian genomic company, 54gene, has reportedly laid off 25% of its workforce, with approximately 10 employees affected.
This news comes as the company experiences a series of setbacks that have affected its growth and financial stability. According to sources, 54gene now has less than 30 employees working across its functions.
The company had around 300 staff at a time, but by the end of 2022, its headcount had dropped to just 39 people, due to financial constraints. This resulted in a down-round investment that reduced the company’s valuation from $175 million to $50 million and the departure of its co-founder and CEO, Abasi Ene-Obong.
The board appointed Teresia Bost, the then-general counsel, as the interim CEO. Ron Chiarello, a San Francisco-based serial entrepreneur, is now the CEO after a complete overhaul of management.
According to sources, the company has disbanded its marketing, sales, and compliance departments, with their roles shuffled amongst the remaining employees and contracted external agencies. The company’s primary focus is on genomic research, with only six employees reportedly manning this core offering.
The layoffs have prompted concerns about staff fatigue, with employees possibly quitting without being laid off. The company has stated that it has fulfilled its obligations to the affected employees and that future hiring will align with its core mission.