October 22, 2018

Theranos bleeds dry, company to dissolve

07 September 2018, 08:44 | Silvia Roy

Theranos bleeds dry, company to dissolve

Elizabeth Holmes founded now-embattled Theranos in 2003

Holmes and Balwani in March were also charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with "massive fraud".

Quite apart from the crushing losses for investors, this secrecy and cult-like nature had other real-world consequences, with many patients likely to have received erroneous blood test results.

Investors poured almost $1 billion into Theranos and three former U.S. cabinet secretaries, two former United States senators, a retired admiral and a retired Marine Corps general joined its board.

Taylor, who took over from her as CEO in June, said in the email cited by The Journal that Theranos was in default for a loan from Fortress Investment Group, which now has the right to take ownership of all of its assets.

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The Wall Street Journal began investigating and published a series of exposes starting from October 2015.

The company will be liquidated over the next six to 12 months, and plans to dole out its estimated $5 million in remaining cash to its unsecured creditors, according to the email sent out by Theranos General Counsel and CEO David Taylor.

Taylor said investment bank Jefferies "reached out on our behalf to over 80 potential sale counter-parties", but came away with no buyers. At its peak, the privately held company was valued at $9 billion.

The firm was one of the darlings of Silicon Valley after raising $700 million from investors. Walgreens ended its relationship with Theranos in 2016.

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Other high profile investors included Australian media mogul (and owner of Rupert Murdoch, former US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the founders of Walmart and the owner of the New England Patriots.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the initial explosive allegations against Theranos, now reports that the firm will dissolve. She also assembled a board of directors that included the elite of political and corporate America, including Jim Mattis, the current USA defence secretary, two former secretaries of state - Henry Kissinger and George Shultz - and David Boies, the high-profile lawyer.

"She wowed them. I don't necessarily think that it was a sexual thing by any means ..." She touted the invention as an innovation that would change the health industry. She was also banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years.

Instead, in a criminal indictment, the Justice Department says that Holmes and her then-boyfriend, former President and COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, perpetrated "a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients".

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If convicted, they could face prison sentences that would keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives, and total fines of $3.69m each.

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