In 2014, medical testing startup Theranos was valued at $9 billion after having developed a revolutionary blood test that only required a single drop per sample. After its results were found to be inaccurate, the company faced sanctions; its CEO Elizabeth Holmes was banned from operating labs for two years and her net worth revised from $4.5 billion to nothing.
In an effort to cut its losses and regroup, the company is now closing its clinical labs and Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. The move will also see 340 employees get laid off. The company noted in August that it had 790 employees. so this means it’s losing close to half its workforce.
“This event was off the charts”
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So what’s next for Theranos? In August, the company showed off a new device it was working on called the miniLab, a tabletop diagnostic tool for identifying a range of illnesses using small samples of blood. However, it’s yet to receive regulatory approval.
In an open letter posted on Theranos’ site, Holmes said the firm will continue to work towards getting the product out into the market:
Our ultimate goal is to commercialize miniaturized, automated laboratories capable of small-volume sample testing, with an emphasis on vulnerable patient populations, including oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care.
We have a new executive team leading our work toward obtaining FDA clearances, building commercial partnerships, and pursuing publications in scientific journals.
With that, Theranos should be able to focus more strongly on developing the miniLab. Hopefully it’ll adopt a more stringent approach to ensuring that its results are accurate and genuinely useful for patients and health professionals.