Illumina has started laying off staff as part of an effort to reduce costs by $100 million, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company started the layoffs last week, which it noted will mostly affect research and development employees.
The “headcount reduction” is part of Illumina’s multiyear plan to “realign its operating expenses while maintaining focus on its innovation roadmap and sustainable long-term growth,” according to the SEC filing.
Illumina noted it plans to cut even more staff in Q3 and will also be reducing its “global real estate footprint.” That primarily includes closing up shop at its i3 campus in San Diego and shutting down lab work in its Foster City location.
The news comes shortly after a series of rocky events for the biotech company throughout the spring.
Recently, Illumina’s former CEO Francis deSouza stepped down from his position following a proxy battle with activist investor Carl Icahn. Charles Dadswell, who formerly served as Illumina’s SVP and general counsel, has replaced deSouza on an interim basis.
The primary issue Icahn had with Illumina was its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer test developer Grail in 2021.
In April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Illumina to divest GRAIL – a multi-cancer early detection test company – due to its potential to “stifle competition.”
In its order, the FTC argued that Illumina’s vertical acquisition was “likely to substantially reduce competition in the U.S. market” for cancer tests.
The latest layoffs also follow Illumina’s earnings announcement in April, where the company stated it would be aiming to reduce its expenses by $100 million this year. In its earnings report, the company announced an 11% drop in Q1 revenue between 2022 and 2023.
In a statement to STAT News, Illumina said the cost reduction steps “need to be taken to continue driving innovation, expand profitable growth for our shareholders, and put us in the best position to carry out our mission of improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome.”
In 2022, Illumina launched NovaSeq X, which can sequence 20,000 genomes per year, reducing the price of a full human genome sequencing to $200.
At the time of its April earnings report, deSouza hailed the launch of NovaSeq X, saying it outperformed expectations “in both customer demand and manufacturing supply.” The company said it shipped out 67 NovaSeq X instruments in the first quarter of 2023.
“Demand remains strong,” deSouza added. “We continue to work closely with our customers and partners to help them manage the challenging macroeconomic environment and to deliver on our 2023 goals.”