Under siege, Theranos introduces a new technology

From The Washington Post:

PHILADELPHIA — With her controversial blood-testing company under intense federal scrutiny, Theranos chief executive Elizabeth Holmes took the stage before hundreds of medical laboratory experts on Monday to present a new blood-testing device and bat down questions about a series of blunders that have thrust the company into crisis.

Holmes, who spoke at a meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, avoided the long list of regulatory and credibility problems that face the company she founded in 2003, when she was 19. Theranos has experienced a rapid fall from grace, with federal regulators banning Holmes from owning or operating a lab for two years. After a host of operational lapses, the company voided then corrected two years of patients’ results from its proprietary Edison technology.

Holmes pitched her presentation as an “inflection point,” as she works to forge relations with the scientific and medical community.

“We fully understand … that we have a lot of work to do to engage with this community,” Holmes said. “I can tell you, I wish that I had started earlier.”

Theranos promised to revolutionize the medical industry with technology that could process a panoply of tests using just a few drops of blood from a finger prick. Now the company is facing a federal criminal investigation into whether it misled investors, and its major partner, Walgreens, has ended the relationship.

The Silicon Valley startup said Holmes’s presentation would finally pull back the curtain on its science and data for scrutiny.

Stephen R. Master, director of the central laboratory at Weill Cornell Medicine, who sat on the panel that questioned Holmes, said the revolutionary promise of Theranos’s technology was not supported by the data she showed on Monday.

“The evidence you presented fell far short of that, so how should we think about it?” Master asked, to applause.

Holmes replied that the …

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