Former unicorn genetics startup Human Longevity loses its horn

The Journal reports that the company’s employee count has dropped from 300 workers in 2016 to 150 today. Over the past few years, HLI has also had a virtual revolving door among its C-suite ranks.

Company co-founder Venter stepped down as CEO in 2017 and was replaced by Cynthia Collins, a former executive at GE Healthcare.

Collins herself left the company in less than a year later, along with a handful of other high level executives, and Venter again took the role of CEO.

Venter stepped down from the company for the second time in May and was subsequently sued by HLI for allegedly stealing trade secrets and trying to poach employees. Earlier this year, Saturnino Fanlo, Human Longevity’s chief financial officer and chief operations officer also departed.

Currently, Human Longevity is being led by its chief of radiogenomics and interim CEO David Karow which telegraphs the company’s new focus on its Health Nucleus business line, which sells a package consisting of full DNA sequencing alongside a battery of tests including a whole body MRI, heart rhythm monitoring and neurocognitive testing.

The diagnostic focuses on early detection and prevention of disease like cancer and cardiac disease, as well as metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. While HLI has said the test has found early-stage issues in seemingly healthy patients, critics have often cited the lack of peer-reviewed validation for the company’s claims.

Health Nucelus, which is not covered by insurance, ranges in price from $4,950 to $25,000 for the most robust diagnostic. It is currently only offered at HLI’s San Diego headquarters, but the company said it plans to expand availability to other locations around the country.