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Company backed by Conn. first lady to exit COVID testing

A health care company whose investors include a venture capital firm run by Connecticut’s first lady will exit the COVID-19 testing business after questions were raised about contracts it received to run state testing sites.

Sema4, the company backed by Annie Lamont’s venture capital firm, has told public health officials and investors that it will leave COVID testing in mid-January and return to its core business, genomic testing.

Stamford-based Sema4 said in a statement that the testing landscape had changed significantly, with more lab capacity and testing options than at the start of the pandemic, and that now “is the appropriate time to dedicate our resources to Sema4’s core mission.”

Sema4, providing services in Danbury and Kent through a State contract, was one of four companies hired by DPH as testing providers to manage 23 testing sites across the state.  DPH has notified the Town of Kent of Sema4's intent to discontinue services January 15, and that they are in conversations with all of the testing providers on the state contract about how to best transition the 23 state-supported testing sites. 

Since Kent started the site back up, Sema4 tested nearly 1,300 people at the Transfer Station.  Testing is being done the next two weeks on Monday and Wednesday, 4pm to 7pm.  The free drive-through PCR testing is open to all, no appointment needed.  PCR test results are available in 24 to 48 hours.  Kent has a priority lane for First Responders.

Gov. Ned Lamont said last month that his wife’s investment had yet to generate a profit, but that any earnings she made would be donated to 4-CT, an independent nonprofit charity created last year to address unmet needs caused by the pandemic.

Sema4 received a $17.2 million contract from the state in July 2020 to provide COVID-19 testing and later received a no-bid contract worth $8.4 million to provide testing in long-term care facilities.

It was also among four companies the state hired in July to manage 23 COVID-19 testing sites.

The CT Mirror reported that Annie Lamont’s company, Oak HC/FT, first invested in Sema4 in 2019, when the state, then run by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, awarded the company two start-up loans. She invested again two months after her husband’s administration signed its first contract with the company, the CT Mirror reported.

Gov. Lamont has said that his office had nothing to do with signing the contract, which was negotiated by the Office of the State Comptroller. The state’s ethics office has found no conflict of interest with the contract.

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Markley van Camp Robbins

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