Blood-testing firm Theranos to dissolve


The once high flying blood-testing start-up Theranos, accused with cheating investors, will dissolve, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The company plans to formally dissolve itself and pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash in coming months, the newspaper reported, citing an email sent to shareholders.

Theranos and Ms Holmes, its founder, claimed that Edison, their invention, a portable blood analyser, could conduct comprehensive tests using tiny amounts of blood taken from a pinprick on the finger, rather than vials filled with blood taken from veins. In June, a grand jury indicted Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani on almost a dozen wire fraud charges, saying they defrauded investors, doctors and patients.

While Theranos touted its technology as revolutionary, the blood analyzer had only been successfully tested a few times, the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded. Holmes garnered abundant media praise, with The New Yorker lauding her "One Woman Drive to Revolutionise Medical Testing".

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Taylor took over the CEO role from founder Elizabeth Holmes, a Clinton donor and presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship under former President Barack Obama, after she was charged with "massive fraud".

The indictments followed months of reporting by The Wall Street Journal that raised questions about the company's technology and practices.

According to the email, Theranos doesn't have enough money to pay creditors in full.

Neither Taylor nor representatives for Palo Alto, California-based Theranos immediately responded to Reuters' requests for comment. If convicted, they could face prison sentences that would keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives, and total fines of US$2.75 million each. Her bold talk and black turtlenecks drew comparisons to Steve Jobs.

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Theranos, founded in 2003 by a then 19-year-old, wide-eyed Elizabeth Holmes, the Stanford drop-out who everyone believed could change the world.

Prosecutors alleged that they defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and defrauded doctors and patients. The SEC claimed that she and Ramesh Balwani, her romantic partner and former president of Theranos, had engaged in "an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company's technology, business, and financial performance".

A national partnership with Walgreens would eventually have resulted in Theranos Wellness Centers within miles of every American.

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