Babylon reached the end of the runway, smack into the lights and barriers. In the US, Babylon Health shut its Austin, TX headquarters on Monday 7 August, the same date as the announcement of the termination of their merger with AlbaCore Capital and their MindMaze business [TTA 8 Aug]. The required filing of a closure notice with the Texas Workforce Commission came to light late yesterday. The layoff of 94 employees left in the office was immediate and the closure permanent.
As of this writing, there is no change to their US website, but LinkedIn has many posts from the now laid-off. There are no statements from founder and CEO Ali Parsa.
No transition in the US for users. With the US office closure, there is no service for current contracts such as with Ambetter’s (Centene) commercial exchange product nor with other payers or value-based providers and plans, mainly in Medicaid, which have been using Babylon apps. According to the Forbes article published yesterday, users have found that their Babylon 360 app no longer works and have been redirected to their health plan for assistance.
“When Linda, a patient in New York who requested her last name not be used for privacy reasons, went to login for a scheduled therapy appointment today, she received the following message on her Babylon app, according to a screenshot. “Babylon’s clinical services and appointments are no longer available. For details about your health plan benefits and to find a new provider, contact your health plan.”
It appears that Babylon is putting the responsibility of the “transition” on patients and their insurance companies. An email Linda received from Babylon at 11:02 am ET said: “We know you may have questions about this change. Your health plan’s dedicated Member Services team can assist you. You can find your health plan’s contact information on your ID card.”
In the UK, Babylon has entered UK administration (=US bankruptcy). Its main product is GP At Hand which is still active and up for sale in the dissolution of the company. Last year, it exited its three contracts with NHS Trust hospitals two years into ten-year contracts [TTA 24 Aug 22, Wired], leaving Reading and Birmingham controversially [TTA 24 Aug 2022] but may have had a fourth continue with Hammersmith and Fulham in London, one of its earliest users back to 2018-19. GP At Hand is still active in London with about 100,000 users reported by Pulse but is only enrolling patients in Fulham (West London). No further information on the administration filing but that would likely be with the High Court in London as previously disclosed by Babylon.
It is quite stunning that a company that the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock lauded as the future of healthcare in 2018 and plumped for at every turn, survived a beatdown on BBC Two’s Newsnight in February 2020, successfully went public in a US SPAC two years ago (Oct 2021) at a value of $4.2 billion/$272 per share, that entered the US and bought two large US medical practices, had operations in 16 countries and as of last December had 1,895 employees with 35% (660 people), in the US, has collapsed so completely and thoroughly. As of 4pm EDT today, their market capitalization was just above $425,000.
As to the non-US/UK operations and multiple user services in places like Rwanda and India–their fate is unknown. Perhaps another reason why Babylon, like its Biblical namesake, eventually collapsed.
FierceHealthcare, Computing (UK–may require free signup), BMJ, The Telegraph (via Yahoo Finance) Our Babylon Health file here. This story is developing. If you were a Babylon employee, you may email Editor Donna in confidence or leave a public comment below.