Sema4 layoffs another 448 employees amid the discontinuation of reproductive health testing



Sema4 announced this week that it will close its reproductive health testing and services division by early next year, laying off roughly one-third of its workforce. The company joins a handful of other medtech developers that have recently reduced their workforces following the release of less-than-stellar third-quarter earnings reports.

This decision would allow Sema4 to concentrate on its Centrellis and GeneDx divisions, according to CEO Katherine Stueland during a conference call with investors on Monday. Sema4’s Centrellis is a “health intelligence platform” that analyzes massive health data sets with machine learning and natural language processing to aid in disease diagnostics, treatment decisions, drug discovery, and other tasks.

GeneDx, which was acquired for $623 million earlier this year, has established a library of clinical exomes and phenotypes in order to provide genetic sequencing services and filter through the genome in order to discover novel linkages between health disorders and genetics.

Stueland stated that Sema4 looked into a number of alternatives to simply shutting down the pregnancy-focused genomic testing and services business, such as switching to a direct-to-consumer model, moving the business from Connecticut to Maryland, and even selling it off to a new buyer, but were unable to find a viable alternative.

Sema4 announced a timeline this week to phase out its carrier screening, noninvasive prenatal testing, prenatal and point-of-care diagnostic testing, and reproductive biochemical and cytogenic testing services.

After December 7, the company will no longer take testing orders and will stop taking samples at its Stamford, Conn., facility a week later. The deadline for scheduling genetic counseling services with Sema4 is January 4, with final appointments scheduled for the following week. By January 12, all sample processing and reporting will be completed.

Along with the shutdown, about 450 Sema4 staff would be laid off. The company said in a notice (PDF) submitted this week in accordance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that 206 employees at its Stamford headquarters, 227 at its Stamford lab, and another 15 at its Branford, Conn. lab will be permanently laid off beginning Jan. 13.

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