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San Francisco biotech startup slashes 235 local jobs

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The technology sector experienced a significant number of layoffs throughout 2023 with the end of the year providing little relief. | Source: JSmith/Getty Images

San Francisco genetic data startup Invitae has slashed its local headcount by more than 200 employees—a troubling indication that layoffs have yet to fully abate in the hard-hit tech industry.  

According to a WARN notice filed to state regulators and obtained by The Standard, 235 workers in Invitae’s San Francisco headquarters were cut earlier this month across technical, recruiting, human resources and sales departments, including some director-level staffers. 

READ MORE: Will Tech Layoffs Continue in 2024? Here’s What Experts Say

Invitae’s core technology is a genetic health test and a platform that aggregates data for individuals and their health providers. Initially a part of Silicon Valley cancer detection company Genomic Health, Invitae was spun off as its own company in 2012.

In total, 15% of the firm’s existing workforce will be cut, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing filed last week. The layoffs will cost Invitae $10 million in severance payments, though the company did not detail the full extent of such costs for employees. 

A company spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

“While these moves, unfortunately, involve a reduction in our workforce,” Invitae president and CEO Ken Knight said in a statement. “We are committed to working closely with those impacted to ensure a smooth transition for them and for our customers and patients.”

Invitae will also divest from health-data service Ciitizen, which it acquired in 2021 for $325 million as part of a buying spree during which the biotech firm absorbed at least four separate health and genetic companies over five years.

The firm has reversed course from this growth strategy toward cost-cutting amid a broader downturn in the biotech market

READ MORE: San Francisco Startup Once Valued at $11B Slashes Nearly a Third of Staff

Last July, Invitae cut 1,000 jobs, around one-third of its total headcount, and announced the departure of its CEO. Invitae’s share price has dipped more than 60% over the past year, and the company has received a notice of non-compliance from the New York Stock Exchange in September for falling under the $1 per share threshold. 

Layoffs within the tech industry are continuing at a punishing pace in December. So far this month, Cruise, Spotify and Twilio are among the industry heavyweights to significantly reduce headcounts. Experts have suggested that layoffs could continue through the start of 2024 before cooling off.