Human Longevity, the company started by Craig Venter in 2014, has lost 80 percent of its valuation, the Wall Street Journal reports.
During fundraising in 2017, the Journal says that the company was valued at $1.6 billion. Now, however, Human Longevity is entering a "down round" of financing that values the company at $310 million, according to the Journal. It adds that this round also includes terms to protect investors should the firm shut down or be sold. The Journals notes such terms are rare in venture capital financing and are typically for companies that are having trouble attracting new investors.
Venter launched Human Longevity with the goal of using omics technologies and clinical data to address diseases of aging to help people live longer. It offers a pricy Health Nucleus service to consumers through which they undergo genome sequencing in combination with MRI scans and other clinical analyses, but the Journal notes that that and its plans to sell analytics to pharmaceutical companies have not panned out as hoped.
At the same time, the Journal notes that the company's workforce has fallen from about 300 people in 2016 to about 150 people. Venter was CEO of the company until January 2017, though then returned as interim CEO in November 2017, before again departing last May to return to the J. Craig Venter Institute. Human Longevity sued JCVI in July, alleging that that Venter stole trade secrets from the company when he left. JCVI said at the time that the claims were baseless.