Economics/Class Relations

The Theranos Trial: What to Know as Elizabeth Holmes Finishes Her Testimony

Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 years old to start the company that became Theranos Inc., a startup that promised to revolutionize the blood-testing industry. After operating largely in secret for a decade, Theranos began in 2013 publicizing its technology, which it said could test for more than 200 health conditions with a few drops of blood extracted from a finger prick, eliminating the need for large needles and vials of blood. The company’s valuation eventually reached more than $9 billion.

The Wall Street Journal began reporting on questions about Theranos in 2015, revealing that only a few tests could be performed on its proprietary technology and that most were being run on off-the-shelf machines, including some that Theranos altered to work with diluted finger-prick samples.

The company dissolved in 2018, after facing several civil and criminal federal probes and reaching a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ms. Holmes separately settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay a $500,000 penalty, without admitting or denying the charges

In the current trial, Ms. Holmes, now 37 years old, is charged with defrauding patients and investors, with charges carrying a maximum federal prison sentence of 20 years. She has pleaded not guilty. She took the stand in her own defense, saying she worked to fix the problems at Theranos after they came to light and that, while she made some mistakes, she believed in the company and “put everything” she had into it.

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