I first raised questions about Theranos more than a year ago. See:
What is Henry Kissinger and Gang Up To Now?
WOW: The Female Mark Zuckerberg?
The Very Creepy, Kissinger Connected, Theranos
After those stories, a top researcher in the field of blood testing, with global credentials, contacted me to say that there was no way that Theranos could have the type of testing product it said it had.
Here is an email that person sent me in September 2014:
Dear Mr. Wenzel
Your Economic Policy Journal article on Theranos story, The Very Creepy, Kissinger Connected, Theranos, published July 29, 2014., was forwarded to me.
I think you are on to a big story and would like to provide you with some interesting information.
As xxxxxxxxxxxx of xxxxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxx and an expert in diagnostic testing ....xxxxxxxxxxxx
I reviewed Theranos' website. In a cursory review, I noted that the website contains medically incorrect information (https://ww.theranos.com/our-tools: they present reference range on 25-OH vitamin D and label it vitamin D. This is like saying that bananas cost X dollars, but they are actually referring to tomatoes. Errors like this represent mislabeling and are the sort of violations that get the attention of the FDA. Theranos, I suspect, will allege it was a simple typographical error.
My sense is that:
1. Theranos has done/is doing some covert work with the Dept. of Defense and is leveraging this to try to get into the consumer space.
2. Theranos is a get-rich scheme for old politicians and senior military officers.
I, as well as xxxxxxxxxxxx ...find Theranos's failure to provide validation data on its technology curious. Theranos does not appear to me to be a credible clinical laboratory...
Since, I have no expertise in biology, diagnostic testing or anything close to it, I did not delve further into the story. However, I have been monitoring news on the company and noticed that WSJ has a major frontpage expose out on the company.
Wired has the best summary of the WSJ story:
THERANOS, A COMPANY that makes low-cost blood tests, has been celebrated as the inventor of the next major medical breakthrough, and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, has been hailed as the next Steve Jobs. But in an expose published today, The Wall Street Journal portrays Theranos as a company that is not only grossly under-delivering on its promise, but is also working hard to hide its problems.
A months-long investigation by the Journal found that, for the bulk of its blood tests, Theranos has not actually been using its own technology, which the company has claimed are capable of running tests with only a few drops of blood. Instead, it’s been relying on traditional machines from companies like Siemens. What’s more, the article alleges that in proficiency tests, Theranos’s own Edison machines have produced radically different results than traditional machines have, and internal emails reveal the company may have tried to prevent those inconsistencies from seeing the light of day.
The Journal‘s claims, many of which Theranos has contested, are damning, portraying Theranos as an Oz-like company that looms large in public consciousness but turns out to have little going on behind the facade....
Holmes started Theranos in her dorm room, and, as the oft-told story goes, she kept the company in stealth mode for 10 years, refusing to say much about its methodology or publish its findings in peer-reviewed journals. And yet, throughout that time, tech investors like Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Larry Ellison continued pouring money into the company. To date, the company has raised $400 million at a $9 billion valuation, making Holmes a celebrity in tech circles and on the conference circuit (WIRED featured Holmes in its March 2014 issue)...
Theranos, no doubt, will use its substantial backing to fight the claims made by The Wall Street Journal, and work to convince the public and regulators that its technology, while still in its infancy, is more than just vaporware.
That’s the good thing about raising $400 million. It can buy you a heckuva legal team.From the WSJ story itself:
During the Journal’s reporting, Theranos deleted a sentence on its website that said: “Many of our tests require only a few drops of blood.” It also dropped a reference to collecting “usually only three tiny micro-vials” per sample, “instead of the usual six or more large ones.” Heather King, the company’s general counsel, says the changes were made for “marketing accuracy.”
(ht Robert Blumen)