Former Theranos Inc. founder and Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes goes on trial Aug. 31 on charges that she defrauded investors and patients about her blood-testing startup. Here’s what we know so far.
Who is Elizabeth Holmes and what was Theranos?
Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 years old to start the company that became Theranos, a startup that promised to revolutionize the blood-testing industry. After operating largely in secret for a decade, Theranos began in 2013 touting its technology, which it said could test for dozens of 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 said it wanted to make blood testing more user-friendly and offered tests at rates that were lower than competitors.
Theranos announced a partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. in September 2013 that put Theranos centers in Arizona and California pharmacies, and had signed a major deal with the Safeway Inc. grocery store chain. The company’s valuation eventually reached $9 billion.
What happened to Theranos?
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 traditional machines, including some that Theranos altered to work with diluted finger-prick samples.