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FBI Search at uBiome

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the San Francisco office of uBiome Friday as part of an investigation into the microbiome testing firm's billing practices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"We are cooperating fully with federal authorities on this matter," a uBiome spokesperson told the Journal Friday.

University of California, San Francisco, researchers launched uBiome in 2012 with the goal of sequencing the microbiomes of 1,000 healthy individuals, and the firm added a CLIA-certified lab in 2015 to provide clinical testing. It recently laid off 55 of its 300 employees as part of what it said was a shift toward developing therapeutics.

According to the Journal, uBiome has come under scrutiny by both the FBI and the California Department of Insurance for its billing practices. In addition, it says that insurers including Anthem, Aetna, and Cambia Health Solutions' Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield entity are also looking into the firm's billing. The Journal adds that some uBiome patients say they've been contacted by the state and asked about the role of doctors in ordering tests.

uBiome Chief Executive Jessica Richman tells the Journal that the firm stresses compliance and that its billing practices are in order.

The Scan

Call for a Different Tack

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Can't Get in the Program

Due to the Northern Ireland protocol dispute, the European Union is preventing UK researchers from joining the Horizon Europe research program, the Times of London reports.

Science Paper on Spatial-Controlled Genome Editing

In Science this week: approach to enable a CRISPR-Cas13a-based system to be used as a cancer therapy.