NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Personalized Wellness firm Arivale has suspended its direct-to-consumer business, stating on its website that the genetic, microbiome, and other lab tests involved in its coaching and monitoring service remain too costly for its business model to succeed at this time.
The timing is abrupt, considering that the company was anticipating a new study describing results in 2,500 participants, which it said has now been accepted for publication in Scientific Reports.
Launched by Institute for Systems Biology researcher Leroy Hood and investor Clayton Lewis in 2015, Arivale was operating in the belief that its model of individualized wellness coaching, informed by genome sequencing, microbiome analysis and longitudinal monitoring of blood protein markers, could improve individuals' health and outcomes.
But the firm faced significant challenges in proving this paradigm, something that may have contributed to its inability to match the cost of the service with its perceived, or actual, value to consumers.
Despite this, there was little evidence that the company was at risk of closing. As recently as this January, the firm said it was expanding into a variety of new research partnerships, exploring how the multi-omic, longitudinal dataset it had collected for more than 15,000 clients could generate new diagnostic biomarkers or inform development of future therapeutics.
At the time, Mia Nease, founder of Arivale's research group and head of healthcare and life sciences partnerships for the company, said that the firm had reached a "critical mass" of data, both in terms of member genome sequences and longitudinal monitoring, which would support research efforts, including a study of Alzheimer's disease with California's Hoag Health Network, another on inflammatory bowel disease with the University of Michigan, a project in breast cancer survivors with the Swedish Cancer Institute, and an observational study examining the oral microbiome with Colgate.
Hood remains a member of the Institute for Systems Biology, where the studies that inspired Arivale's founding were instigated.