Sequenom, a California-based life sciences firm, is seeking a buyer for a testing lab it operates in Morrisville.

Less than a year ago, the firm said it would expand the operation after closing a Michigan facility.

Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM) originally invested $19 million in building the plant,. The facility opened in 2012.

Used for genetic testing, the laboratory recruited to North Carolina in 2011 with help from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine was originally scheduled to employ more than 240 people.

“We believe these changes will position Sequenom to achieve higher levels of near-term performance while still allowing us to pursue our longer-term potential,” said Sequenom CEO Dirk van den Boom in announcing the decision to sell the lab. 

“We have the most comprehensive portfolio of products for noninvasive prenatal applications, a game changing new product in our MaterniT GENOME laboratory-developed test, an experienced sales force, and an increased focus on serving physicians addressing average risk pregnancies.  Because these advantages are considerable, it is essential for us to concentrate our resources on making the most of our opportunities in women’s health.” 

The N.C. lab processes noninvasive prenatal tests and other reproductive health tests.Operations would be moved to San Diego in the first half of this year.

“In making the difficult decision to sell our North Carolina facility, we are working hard to find a buyer that may be able to employ some or all of our team, thereby minimizing the effect on our employees and their families,” van den Boom said.