Digital Therapeutics Startup Akili Plans to Lay Off 30% of Staff

Akili, Inc. (Nasdaq: AKLI) will lay off 30% of its workforce in a cost-cutting play to extend its cash runway.

The Boston-based prescription digital therapeutics company will complete the cuts — impacting 46 employees — by the end of the first quarter, according to an email to staff from Akili CEO and founder Eddie Martucci.

Akili employed 143 at the end of September, according to its financial filing for the third quarter.


The layoffs are part of the operating plan approved by Akili’s board of directors on Jan. 11. It communicated the layoffs to employees the next day. That plan also includes reprioritizing its development pipeline.

Several behavioral health companies, especially those with significant technology operations, have announced layoffs over the past year.

“In recent months, the economic environment has dramatically shifted,” Martucci said in the email. “As difficult as this decision is, it is the right thing to do for our business and all Akili shareholders, and, most importantly, we believe it best enables us to deliver on our promise to millions of patients.”


Akili went public over the summer, its shares hitting the public market in August. It raised $163 million in proceeds via a SPAC merger.

The public markets have not been kind to Akili’s share price. It spiked to $37.58 in August. As of the writing of this article, it stands at $1.39, a 96% reduction.

Akili landed FDA clearance for its prescription digital therapeutic product EndeavorRx, which treats pediatric ADHD, in 2020. Its pipeline includes products for autism spectrum disorder and adult ADHD. 

Prescription digital therapeutics are on the edge of what regulators and payers recognize as care. This translates to challenges in garnering reimbursement for their use. Pear Therapeutics, another digital therapeutics developer, received the first-ever clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for this type of care in 2017. 

Akili has yet to generate meaningful revenue from its products. It reported garnering $212,000 in total revenue through the third quarter of 2022, according to its latest financial statement. Its operating expenses through the third quarter totaled $68.6 million.

The company has not yet released annual financial results for 2022.

Akili now projects its operating expenses for 2023 will total between $55 and $60 million, according to public filings. The layoffs themselves will cost the company between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

The layoff adds about six months to Aliki’s cash runway. Akili most recently disclosed it had about $89.7 million of cash on the books. That would be enough to fund the company’s operations until mid-2024.

Akili now expects its cash runway to extend through the first quarter of 2025.

“I take personal and sole responsibility for how we have grown, and for being in a position where instilling more operational efficiency means a reduction of employees and roles,” Martucci said. “I wish that we had a more efficient footprint so that this action would be less dramatic, but the truth is that we are just not as lean as we can be, and for that I apologize.”

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