Not to beat a dead unicorn, but this is a pretty interesting story from The Wall Street Journal, identifying the Theranos employee who squealed to the newspaper and to New York state officials by alleging company manipulation of blood test results. He's Tyler Shultz, 26-year-old grandson of Republican éminence grise George Shultz, the U.S. Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. The elder Shultz was a Theranos board member from 2011-15, until he was shifted to an advisory position as part of the company's shift from high-profile bigwigs on its board to people with actual medical experience.
The Journal reports Tyler Shultz found that the company's test results "varied widely when tests were rerun with the same blood samples. To reduce that variability, Theranos routinely discarded outlying values from validation reports it compiled, he says."
Shultz told the Journal he first complained about the practice to CEO Elizabeth Holmes. She referred him to a VP in charge of biostatistics, who told him the ambiguous results were later clarified by subsequent tests. After Shultz filed a complaint with New York State, under an alias, Theranos accused him of leaking trade secrets and violating his non-disclosure agreement. It also sent lawyers to pressure him to identify other employee whistleblowers, and hired private investigators to follow him, he said.
Shultz said he and his family have spent more than $400,000 in legal fees. The Journal says he is cooperating with a federal investigation of Theranos.
Theranos, a blood testing company that rode to prominence on the claims of its ability to perform dozens of blood tests from a few drops of blood, is now approaching Enron-level status, at least as a brand name. It's been forced to exit the consumer blood-testing business on the heels of severe government penalties for deficiencies and inaccuracies at its lab; it's the subject of a multitude of lawsuits by its former customers, as well as one by former business partner Walgreens; and it's under investigation by several government agencies.