Theranos Dumps Finger-Stick Blood Tests, Closes Testing Sites

Embattled Theranos, Inc., has decided to close its blood-testing facilities and reduce its workforce by more than 40%, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

In a statement posted on the company’s website, founder Elizabeth Holmes said: “We will return our undivided attention to our miniLab platform. Our ultimate goal is to commercialize miniaturized, automated laboratories capable of small-volume sample testing, with an emphasis on vulnerable patient populations, including oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care.”

Holmes announced the miniLab blood-testing device in August at a conference of laboratory scientists. She said the device, which is about the size of a printer, could run accurate tests from a few drops of blood.

Theranos was hit by crippling regulatory sanctions following revelations by the WSJ of shortcomings in the company’s blood-testing technology and operations. In October 2015, the WSJ  detailed concerns about the company’s testing accuracy. Theranos later voided all results from its proprietary testing device for 2014 and 2015.

The company also faces federal criminal and civil investigations into whether it misled investors.

In June 2016, Walgreens closed all of the blood-collection locations it had opened in a Theranos partnership.

Holmes’ website statement also indicated that her company’s “restructuring” would affect “approximately 340 employees” in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. In early August, Theranos claimed to have 790 employees.

Sources: Wall Street Journal; October 6, 2016; and Theranos, Inc.; October 5, 2016.

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