Blood-testing firm Theranos to dissolve

08 September, 2018, 04:26 | Author: Denise Dawson
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Theranos will begin its dissolution proceedings on September 10.

CEO and General Counsel David Taylor spoke of "difficult news" about the California-based company's future to stockholders on Tuesday, in an email acquired by The Wall Street Journal. Taylor declined to comment further, saying the message spoke for itself. After this process, the company - which holds about $5 million (£3.9 million) in remaining cash - intends to dissolve. They could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted, and would also face fines of $250,000 plus restitution.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who started the company when she was 19, was celebrated as a rising Silicon Valley star until it became clear that numerous claims about the company's supposedly revolutionary blood test were bogus. Holmes said Theranos had discovered a new way of doing blood testing, one able to conduct dozens of tests with just a prick of a finger and few droplets of blood. Investors and the media hyped Theranos as a breakthrough in the large blood-testing market, where the United States diagnostic-lab industry posts annual sales of over $70 billion. Holmes founded the company in 2003 when she was only 19 and since had frequently been referred to as the "next Steve Jobs". The company grew at a rapid rate in the following ten years, backed by investors who fell in love with Holmes' idea. Inc Magazine described Holmes "as the world's youngest female self-made billionaire, she's stumbled into this rarefied position and is beginning to own it". "For example, allegedly, Holmes and Balwani knew that the analyzer, in truth, had accuracy and reliability problems, performed a limited number of tests, was slower than some competing devices, and, in some respects, could not compete with existing, more conventional machines".

The Journal's investigation marked the beginning of the end of Theranos. Walgreens ended its blood-testing partnership with the company, and the Department of Health and Human Services in 2016 effectively banned Theranos from doing any blood-testing work.

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Holmes and the company settled the SEC's allegations.

Balwani continues to fight the SEC's charges against him.

There are many outstanding questions surrounding Theranos, not least the outcome of Ms Holmes and Mr Balwani's forthcoming fraud trial, as well as whether the remaining patents being acquired by Fortress will turn out to have any lasting value.

As for its business outlook rating - how employees believe the company will fare in the next six months - Theranos has been on a slow dive for over a year.

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