March 22, 2021 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

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This may be the nation’s first federal case of fraud and abuse involving a clinical laboratory company specializing in microbiome testing. In San Francisco last week, federal prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against bankrupt uBiome, formerly based in San Francisco, Jessica Richman, uBiome’s former CEO, and Zachary Apte, its former chief scientific officer. The company was founded in 2012. Its first test was “Gut Explorer” and was a direct-to-consumer service. Consumers submitted fecal samples to uBiome, which compared them to other samples sent by other consumers. The lab company provided the test and analysis for less than $100. 

MORE ON: uBiome Lab

In court documents, federal prosecutors lay out the alleged scheme to defraud investors out of $60 million, stating “uBiome’s purported success in generating revenue, however, was a sham. It depended on duping doctors into ordering unnecessary tests and other improper practices that Richman and Apte directed and which, once discovered, led insurers to claw back their previous reimbursement payments to uBiome.” Court papers also say that, between 2015 and 2019, uBiome sent $300 million in claims to government and private health programs and was paid $35 million from those claims. The federal charges center around a conspiracy to commit securities fraud, healthcare fraud, and money laundering.

TRANSITIONS

Paul Marr was appointed Chief Commercial Officer by Ontera, based in Carlsbad, Calif. In his career, Marr worked at Hologic, Beckman Coulter, Gen-Probe, Leica Biosystems, and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

• PierianDx of St. Louis, Mo., announced that Lindsay Mateo was its new Chief Business Officer. She previously held executive positions at Tempus Labs, NAVICAN, and Genoptix.

• Prometheus Biosciences of San Diego selected Mark Stenhouse to be Chief Operating Officer. Previously, Stenhouse served in positions at Exact Sciences, AbbVie, and Abbott Laboratories.

• Precipio of New Haven, Conn., anounced that Ron Andrews had joined its Board of Directors. Andrews is currently CEO of Oncocyte of Irvine, Calif., and was formerly President of the Genetic Sciences Division at Thermo Fisher Scientific, President of Life Technologies, CEO of GE’s Clarient, and before that, held executive positions at Roche Diagnostics, and Abbott Laboratories.

Vince Wong is the new Chief Commercial Officer at Geneoscopy, based in St. Louis, Mo. His career includes positions with Roche Diagnostics, Ventana Medical Systems, and Telemon Corporation.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, April 12, 2021.

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