Fraudulent blood-testing company Theranos is shutting down
Fraudulent blood-testing company Theranos is shutting down
Blood-testing startup Theranos reportedly to dissolve
08 September, 2018, 04:24
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Theranos would formally dissolve, citing an email to the company's shareholders from David Taylor, the company's CEO and general counsel. Founded in 2003 by then teenage Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos grew into a $9 billion firm based on its promise of a blood test requiring only a finger prick, rather than a vial of blood.
The announcement of the closure comes almost three months after Theranos founder Holmes and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Balwani were charged with criminal fraud.
The most damaging revelation in the article was that the nanotainers themselves were so flawed that Theranos had been using equipment made by other companies to carry out blood tests in its laboratories.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the scandal-plagued company, was indicted by federal prosecutors in June for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and the public in a multi-million dollar scheme.
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The indictments followed months of reporting by The Wall Street Journal that raised questions about the company's technology and practices. Investors and the media hyped Theranos as a breakthrough in the large blood-testing market, where the U.S. diagnostic-lab industry posts annual sales of over $70 billion.
She carefully crafted her image as well, often wearing black turtleneck sweaters that led some in Silicon Valley to describe her as "the next Steve Jobs", a reference to the Apple founder. The Journal reports that most of the company's employees - reported to be down to fewer than two dozen as of April, a drastic fall from a peak of 800 - worked their last day on August 31.
The Fortress Investment Group loaned $65 million to Theranos a year ago, with one condition being that Theranos maintain a cash level that has now been breached-hence the dissolution process that will play out over the coming months. "We are now out of time". Pretty soon the illusion of world-changing technology was replaced with reports of fraud, deception, bullying, intimidation and cover-up because the company's miracle technology didn't really work. Holmes settled with the SEC by agreeing to pay $500,000 in fines and penalties, while Balwani is fighting the charges. It perpetrated Silicon Valley's biggest fraud, and remains a cautionary tale for investors looking to pour their money on the "next great idea".
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