Founded in 2012, uBiome raised $105 million from investors on the promise of exploring the microbiome, a 'forgotten organ.'
As uBiome advanced from a citizen science project to a clinical testing company, it overstated the medical value of its tests and prioritized growth over patient care, according to insiders, lawyers, and government officials.
"Some of my uBiome results remind me of astrology," one ex-employee said.
When not enough new customers were signing up for uBiome's services, the former employees say, the company tried to bill insurers for conducting updated tests of stored samples that were in some cases years old.
These actions were guided by two co-founders who are described by former employees as secretive and intimidating, whose romantic relationship was unknown to investors and co-workers, and one of whom led reporters to believe she was younger than she actually was.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, a spokesman for Richman and Apte described complaints from former employees as "misinformed speculation, gossip, and innuendo," adding that "without knowing who is making these unsubstantiated claims, one can only speculate as to their agendas, motivations, actual knowledge of uBiome's business, seniority, or length of tenure with the Company."