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SAN DIEGO — Biosplice, once the world’s most valuable biotech startup, is laying off nearly a quarter of its workforce and has stopped internal development of one of its late-stage medicines, a treatment for hair loss in men, with hopes of licensing that program to another drug company.

The layoffs, which took effect Tuesday, could be seen as yet another reality check for the outsized bets made by some investors on privately held biotechnology firms. In 2016, Biosplice, then known as Samumed, made headlines by raising $220 million at a $6 billion valuation; two years later, it raised another $438 million at a $12.8 billion valuation.

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