BioPharma, Startups, Legal

uBiome, once a promising microbiome startup, files for bankruptcy

A mere five months after an FBI raid, the San Francisco startup, once valued at $600 million, has filed for bankruptcy. It will continue to offer its microbiome test while also looking for a buyer.

A microbiome-testing company once valued at more than half a billion dollars has filed for bankruptcy.

San Francisco-based uBiome said Wednesday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to smooth the process of selling off its business, products in development, technology and lab capabilities.

“We have taken significant action to put the company on stronger footing and believe in the strength and potential of uBiome’s scientific achievements and [intellectual property],” said Kimmy Scotti, a member of uBiome’s board of directors and partner at venture capital firm 8VC, in a statement emailed by a spokesperson for the firm, which had invested in the company. “We remain committed to supporting the company as it pursues an orderly sale of its assets for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The company said it would continue to offer its Explorer product throughout the sales process and maintain staffing and supply levels sufficient to support the product and process kits for its customers. It also plans to continue to grow its commercial, academic and research partnerships.

“Together with the board, we determined that uBiome’s business will be better positioned for success under new ownership,” acting CEO Curtis Solsvig said in a statement. “Our Chapter 11 filing allows us to preserve the value of these assets for all stakeholders and continue to serve current and new customers while we evaluate potential buyers.”

Founded by Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, uBiome became a darling of investors, raising more than $100 million from 8VC and other top venture capital firms and achieving a $600 million valuation. But it became the subject of a scandal starting in April, when the FBI raided its headquarters amid allegations that it had been double billing for its products and sought to boost sales figures by conducted tests on years-old samples. Richman and Apte, who had been co-CEOs, were placed on administrative leave the next month, replaced by general counsel John Rakow as interim CEO. However, all three soon resigned from the company.

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