Here’s the letter the $600 million healthcare startup uBiome sent to reassure investors after it was …

uBiome has raised $105 million from investors including OS Fund, 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz, and Y Combinator, racking up a $600 million valuation.

The microbiome-testing company uBiome is seeking to reassure investors after placing its founders on leave on the heels of an FBI raid.

uBiome has raised $105 million from investors including OS Fund, 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz, and Y Combinator, racking up a $600 million valuation. The company runs lab tests that provide information about the bacteria in your body, called the microbiome. Most of the tests work by having customers use a swab to take a sample of their poop from recently used toilet paper.

In late April, the FBI raided uBiome’s headquarters, reportedly over the company’s billing practices. Customer complaints obtained by Business Insider show a pattern of sending patients unexpected bills of up to $3,000 for years.

After the raid, the company placed its founders and co-CEOs, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, on administrative leave. John Rakow, the company’s general counsel, is acting as the interim CEO, and uBiome has said publicly that it plans to cooperate with investigations and has launched an independent investigation of its own.

Read more: Silicon Valley startup uBiome raised $105 million on the promise of exploring a ‘forgotten organ.’ After an FBI raid, ex-employees say it cut corners in its quest for growth.

uBiome has also suspended sales of two of its products, the doctor-ordered SmartGut and SmartJane tests.

In a letter to investors sent Wednesday and obtained by Business Insider, Rakow laid out his immediate plans.

Among his top goals is “restoring the company’s credibility, including restoring the integrity of uBiome’s leadership and billing practices,” he wrote.

The letter reveals that beyond the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and “several other US and California governmental agencies” were involved in the April 26 search.

Here’s the letter obtained by Business Insider:

Dear uBiome investor:

On Friday April 26, 2019 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (“USAO”), and several other US and California governmental agencies searched the Company’s facilities in San Francisco pursuant to a search warrant. I am writing to inform you of steps uBiome has taken in response and my plans for the company to move forward.

The Board of Directors has appointed me as Interim Chief Executive Officer of uBiome, effective immediately. The Company’s Co-CEOs and Founders, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, are currently on administrative leave, and a Special Committee of the Board is conducting its own independent investigation into uBiome’s billing practices.

Right now, uBiome is focused on the following four objectives:

  1. Cooperating fully with federal authorities;
  2. Resolving any issues with private insurers;
  3. Restoring the company’s credibility, including restoring the integrity of uBiome’s leadership and billing practices; and
  4. Publishing verifiable, third-party vetted documentation on the clinical validity and utility of our products.

To this end, we will be taking immediate internal and operational actions.

  1. First, within the next few days, we will be introducing a new Code of Ethics.
  2. To start anew, we will be establishing a new set of core company values which will focus on the following principles:
    • Putting our customers’ interests first.
      • We need to deliver excellent, dependable products of the highest integrity…always!
    • Developing our employees in a rewarding working environment.
      • We value and respect differences of opinion. We encourage employees to speak up and often.
    • Acting with integrity at all times.
    • Doing the “right thing,” even when no one is looking.
      • Speak up when you suspect any impropriety.
    • And, most importantly, our employees must act as one team.
  3. We will temporarily be shifting our focus to our consumer product, Explorer, and our growing network of partnerships and grants.

At this moment in time, uBiome will not be offering, marketing, billing, or processing the SmartGut or SmartJane products. We will, however, continue to offer and process our Explorer consumer product, in addition to new and existing partnerships and grants.

It’s important to reiterate that this suspension of SmartGut and SmartJane does not insinuate a lack of value or utility in our products. In fact, there is significant clinical evidence and medical literature that demonstrates the utility and value of these products as important tools for patients, healthcare providers, and our commercial partners. As noted above, we’re in the process of developing third-party vetted documentation on the clinical validity and utility of our products, and we look forward to continuing to demonstrate this clinical utility and value at a time of growing demand in the market.

I promise to keep you informed as to our progress on these matters as well as any other significant developments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time. It is my full expectation that we will work through our challenges and come out a stronger company.

Thank you,

John

Want to tell us about your experience with uBiome? Email the author at lramsey@businessinsider.com.

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LunaPBC raises $4.6 million to accelerate the growth of LunaDNA, the first community-owned …

ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners all bring unique perspectives and …

Back in May 2018, we wrote about LunaDNA, a new startup that is creating a database of donated DNA, health records and diet/exercise information for medical researchers while rewarding people who voluntarily share their health data.

LunaDNA is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. Unlike Ancestry.com and 23andMe, Luna DNA does not provide DNA sequencing or analysis itself. Instead, Luna DNA incentivizes the sharing of health and DNA data for research. LunaDNA rewards people for sharing the data they already own while contributing to medical research and discovery that saves lives.

Now LunaPBC, the founder of LunaDNA, today announced it has closed $4.6 million in new funding to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams. The new round, which brings the total funding to date to $7.6 million, was back by key investors including ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners.

The LunaDNA platform is the first of its kind to reward individuals for sharing health data. The platform promises utility to pharmaceutical, insurance, and healthcare IT companies, as they improve health outcomes through the discovery of new therapies and a deeper understanding of patient outcomes. The funds will be used to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams.

LunaDNA was created by the privately-owned Public Benefit Corporation, LunaPBC, founded in 2017 and headquartered in La Jolla, California. The LunaPBC team, investors, and advisors are renowned in the patient-advocacy, health, and science fields, including several former chief executives of Illumina, industry academics, and financial executives.

In December 2018, LunaDNA received precedent-setting qualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recognize an individual’s genomic and health data as currency with which to acquire shares of ownership in the Company. This unique offering ensures members share in the value created from research performed on the platform. Members have the opportunity to advance research, receive shares in the Company commensurate with their contribution activity, and engage with utility apps and partners that align with their interests. LunaDNA’s business model and core pillars are based on individual data control, transparency, and community, including protecting the anonymity of members.

“It’s the right time to reimagine the role and rights of individuals across the globe in driving health discovery with their life data. We are excited about LunaPBC’s people-first model, which empowers individuals as valued partners not just research subjects; will create a deeper dataset with environment-specific and people-reported data; and has an intentional public benefit component to ensure long-standing impact in our communities,” said Yumin Choi, partner, Bain Capital Ventures.

Genetic Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to providing ordinary people with powerful tools to transform research, is a recently announced LunaPBC partner. They are leveraging LunaDNA’s data stewardship model for their 45 disease communities representing more than 50,000 patients. LunaPBC’s new funding is accelerating the integration of Genetic Alliance’s Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly with LunaDNA, to provide individuals and communities with more resources to support their health management while maximizing research opportunities.

ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners all bring unique perspectives and business expertise to LunaPBC. ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital and Illumina Ventures are known for their impactful investments in health and science. Bain Capital Ventures brings remarkable consumer centricity and Osage University Partners are experts in building university relationships that support LunaPBC’s member and discovery goals.

“The timing is right to be changing the paradigm in data stewardship. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the use and exploitation of personal health data today. Our community ownership solution and its underlying technology provide individuals with transparency, control, and data dividends. LunaPBC’s progress and growth is reflected in the continued hiring of top tier talent, on-boarding of new investors, expanding office space in La Jolla, CA, and growth in LunaDNA membership. New corporate advisors include Jason Paragas, Integral Health; Doug Harrison, founder of Harrison Group; and Chris Cabou, now retired general counsel at Illumina,” said Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder, LunaPBC.

LunaDNA currently accepts DNA files from vendors including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTree DNA, as well as LunaDNA-generated health surveys. The acceptance of new information types will be accelerated as a result of funding and include whole genome and exome DNA files, RNA, microbiome, electronic health records (EHRs), fitness and activity trackers, smart devices, and many more.

LunaDNA is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. LunaDNA empowers individuals to share their health data for medical research and the greater good of the community. As community owners in the LunaDNA platform, members share in the value created from health discoveries and medical breakthroughs.


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LunaPBC Raises $4.6M in Funding

The round, which brought total funding to date to $7.6m, saw the participation from ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, …

lunadnaLunaPBC, a San Diego, CA-based founder of a community-owned genomic and health data platform, closed a $4.6m funding round.

The round, which brought total funding to date to $7.6m, saw the participation from ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams.

Led by Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder, LunaPBC is a health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. LunaDNA allows individuals to share their health data for medical research. The platform will reward individuals for sharing health data and promises utility to pharmaceutical, insurance, and healthcare IT companies, as they improve health outcomes through the discovery of new therapies and a deeper understanding of patient outcomes.

In December 2018, LunaDNA received precedent-setting qualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recognize an individual’s genomic and health data as currency with which to acquire shares of ownership in the company. This offering ensures members share in the value created from research performed on the platform. Members have the opportunity to advance research, receive shares in the company commensurate with their contribution activity, and engage with utility apps and partners that align with their interests.

LunaDNA currently accepts DNA files from vendors including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTree DNA, as well as LunaDNA-generated health surveys. The acceptance of new information types will be accelerated as a result of funding and include whole genome and exome DNA files, RNA, microbiome, electronic health records (EHRs), fitness and activity trackers, smart devices, and more.

FinSMEs

09/05/2019

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LunaPBC Raises $4.6 Million to Accelerate Company Growth and Drive Health Breakthroughs

Bain Capital Ventures brings remarkable consumer centricity and Osage University Partners are experts in building university relationships that …

SAN DIEGO, May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — LunaPBC, founder of LunaDNA, the first community-owned genomic and health data platform, today announced the close of $4.6 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $7.6 million. Key investors in this round include ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and OsageUniversity Partners. The LunaDNA platform will be the first of its kind to reward individuals for sharing health data. The platform promises utility to pharmaceutical, insurance, and healthcare IT companies, as they improve health outcomes through the discovery of new therapies and a deeper understanding of patient outcomes. The funds will be used to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams.

In December 2018, LunaDNA received precedent-settingqualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recognize an individual’s genomic and health data as currency with which to acquire shares of ownership in the Company. This unique offering ensures members share in the value created from research performed on the platform. Members have the opportunity to advance research, receive shares in the Company commensurate with their contribution activity, and engage with utility apps and partners that align with their interests. LunaDNA’s business model and core pillars are based on individual data control, transparency, and community, including protecting the anonymity of members.

“It’s the right time to reimagine the role and rights of individuals across the globe in driving health discovery with their life data. We are excited about LunaPBC’s people-first model, which empowers individuals as valued partners not just research subjects; will create a deeper dataset with environment-specific and people-reported data; and has an intentional public benefit component to ensure long-standing impact in our communities,” said Yumin Choi, partner, Bain Capital Ventures.

Genetic Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to providing ordinary people with powerful tools to transform research, is a recently announced LunaPBC partner. They are leveraging LunaDNA’s data stewardship model for their 45 disease communities representing more than 50,000 patients. LunaPBC’s new funding is accelerating the integration of Genetic Alliance’s Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly with LunaDNA, to provide individuals and communities with more resources to support their health management while maximizing research opportunities.

ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners all bring unique perspectives and business expertise to LunaPBC. ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital and Illumina Ventures are known for their impactful investments in health and science. Bain Capital Ventures brings remarkable consumer centricity and Osage University Partners are experts in building university relationships that support LunaPBC’s member and discovery goals.

“The timing is right to be changing the paradigm in data stewardship. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the use and exploitation of personal health data today. Our community ownership solution and its underlying technology provide individuals with transparency, control, and data dividends. LunaPBC’s progress and growth is reflected in the continued hiring of top tier talent, on-boarding of new investors, expanding office space in La Jolla, CA, and growth in LunaDNA membership. New corporate advisors include Jason Paragas, Integral Health; Doug Harrison, founder of Harrison Group; and Chris Cabou, now retired general counsel at Illumina,” said Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder, LunaPBC.

LunaDNA currently accepts DNA files from vendors including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTree DNA, as well as LunaDNA-generated health surveys. The acceptance of new information types will be accelerated as a result of funding and include whole genome and exome DNA files, RNA, microbiome, electronic health records (EHRs), fitness and activity trackers, smart devices, and many more.

About LunaDNA

LunaDNA is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. LunaDNA empowers individuals to share their health data for medical research and the greater good of the community. As community owners in the LunaDNA platform, members share in the value created from health discoveries and medical breakthroughs.

LunaDNA was created by the privately-owned Public Benefit Corporation, LunaPBC, founded in 2017 and headquartered in La Jolla, California. The LunaPBC team, investors, and advisors are renowned in the patient-advocacy, health, and science fields, including several former chief executives of Illumina, industry academics, and financial executives.

For more information visit www.lunadna.com.

Contact:

Saramaya Penacho

BAM Communications

208-610-3375

saramaya@bamcommunications.bi

SOURCE Luna DNA

Related Links

http://lunadna.com

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Algae ‘Bioreactor’ on Space Station Could Make Oxygen, Food for Astronauts

The Photobioreactor arrived at the space station Monday (May 6) on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. The experiment is designed to use algae to convert …

Astronauts on the International Space Station will begin testing an innovative algae-powered bioreactor to assess its feasibility for future long-duration space missions.

The algae-powered bioreactor, called the Photobioreactor, represents a major step toward creating a closed-loop life-support system, which could one day sustain astronauts without cargo resupply missions from Earth. This will be particularly important for future long-duration missions to the moon or Mars, which require more supplies than a spacecraft can carry, according to a statement from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The Photobioreactor arrived at the space station Monday (May 6) on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. The experiment is designed to use algae to convert the carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts on the space station into oxygen and edible biomass through photosynthesis.

Related: Weird Science: Nanoparticles, Algae and Organs on Chips to Launch on SpaceX Dragon

In the Photobioreactor, the green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and edible biomass through photosynthesis.

In the Photobioreactor, the green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and edible biomass through photosynthesis.

(Image: © IRS Stuttgart)

The Photobioreactor is expected to work in conjunction with the physicochemical air-recycling system, or Advanced Closed-Loop System (ACLS), which was delivered to the space station in 2018. The ACLS extracts methane and water from the carbon dioxide in the space station cabin. In turn, the algae in the Photobioreactor will use the remaining carbon dioxide to generate oxygen, creating a hybrid solution formally known as PBR@ACLS, according to the statement.

“With the first demonstration of the hybrid approach, we are right at the forefront when it comes to the future of life-support systems,” Oliver Angerer, team leader for Exploration and project leader for the Photobioreactor experiment at DLR, said in the statement. “Of course, the use of these systems is interesting primarily for planetary base stations or for very long missions. But these technologies will not be available when needed if the foundations are not laid today.”

German astronaut Alex Gerst of the European Space Agency poses with the Advanced Closed-Loop System (ACLS) at the International Space Station on Oct. 19, 2018.

German astronaut Alex Gerst of the European Space Agency poses with the Advanced Closed-Loop System (ACLS) at the International Space Station on Oct. 19, 2018.

(Image: © ESA/NASA)

The experiment will cultivate microscopic algae called Chlorella vulgaris aboard the space station. In addition to producing oxygen, the algae also produce a nutritional biomass that astronauts could eat.

Creating an edible biomass from carbon dioxide within the spacecraft means less food would need to be transported or delivered on space missions. The researchers estimate roughly 30 percent of an astronaut’s food could be replaced by algae due to its high protein content, according to the statement.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow uson Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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