Population health technology company Color announced it had laid off workers as it pivots focus away from COVID-19 testing.
According to posts by former employees on LinkedIn, the company cut 300 jobs. Color CEO Othman Laraki confirmed the layoffs in his own post, saying the company was downsizing its teams focused on COVID-19 testing given the looming end of the public health emergency and reduced customer interest in pandemic-related services.
Laraki said the company would focus on its testing and telehealth infrastructure for government programs, and also its prevention tools for employers and healthcare purchasers.
“Amidst change, we will continue to support existing programs and increase access for underserved populations. With a reinvestment in our core business and the trust of our customers, we are focused on delivering high access, high impact population healthcare programs that help everyone lead the healthiest life that science and medicine can offer. While yesterday was a difficult day for our team, we are optimistic about our future as a company and the impact we will have,” he wrote.
THE LARGER TREND
Color raised two large rounds of funding in 2021, including a $167 million Series D and a $100 million Series E. The company, which previously focused on genomics before pivoting to public health tech, added behavioral health services with the acquisition of Mood Lifters last year.
Layoffs at digital health and health tech companies surged in 2022, including at startups that had raised significant amounts of investor dollars in 2021.
A declining focus on COVID-19 has also impacted some companies. Lucira Health, which develops home diagnostic tests, recently filed for bankruptcy just as the company received the first Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for an over-the-counter at-home combination COVID-19 and flu test. The company said the regulatory process had taken longer than it anticipated and demand for its COVID-19 tests had slowed in 2022.