Theranos Lays Off More Employees, Gets WSJ Reporter's Blood Test Wrong

In a press release titled "Company Re-engineers Operations," Theranos announced it has re-engineered 155 workers right out the door.

The layoff leaves the reeling blood-testing company, once heralded as a major innovator on the basis of its claimed ability to conduct dozens of tests from just a few drops of blood, with just 220 employees. That's down from about 850 last October, when Theranos let go of about 340 people in conjunction with shuttering its disastrous consumer blood-testing business.

That business, which once included dozens of blood-draw locations in Walgreen's stores, collapsed in the wake of a series of events not exactly conducive to business. Among the company's misfortunes were a Wall Street Journal investigation alleging a bevy of improprieties and inaccuracies related to the company’s secret technology; unprecedented government sanctions due to uncovered deficiencies at its main lab; and a multiplicity of lawsuits.

Theranos has said for months now that its main focus is on its miniLab, a printer-sized device that integrates already available technologies into one machine.

But some scientists who attended the unveiling of the device at a scientific conference last August were less than impressed.

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'“It’s not as if there’s something here we haven’t fundamentally seen before," said Dr. Stephen R. Master, one of the event’s moderators,

Getting FDA approval for the miniLab could also take years. How much of the $900 million that Theranos once raised from investors might be left at that point ... well, the math doesn't look good.

More Bad Test Results

Also today, The Wall Street Journal reported Theranos sent out more notices of bad test results. Last April, the company said it had voided tens of thousands of tests that may have been inaccurate.

From the Journal:

As recently as last week the company sent out newly corrected results saying some tests done in 2015 and 2016 for hemoglobin A1c, a protein doctors measure to help diagnose diabetes, shouldn’t be relied upon, according to copies of the corrected reports.

In a letter sent last week, Theranos said a patient who previously had gotten a “normal to prediabetic” result should have received a result in the “prediabetic to diabetic” range.

Kim Toy, a house cleaner in Phoenix, also learned last week that a past Theranos lab-test result had been voided, according to her lawyer.

Ms. Toy had the diabetes test at a Theranos location at a Walgreens in February 2016, indicating she may be on the brink of becoming diabetic. She doubted the result then, but hadn’t received any corrected information until now.

Then, to top it all off, there's this:

John Carreyrou, of course, is The Wall Street Journal reporter who started the company on its long road to ruin with his investigative reports.

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Vanity Fair reported last October that Theranos employees had chanted "Fuck you, Carreyrou!" during a company meeting at which founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes had claimed the Journal's investigation was inaccurate.

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