Two months after a Wall Street Journal investigation raised questions about how effective Theranos’ “revolutionary” blood tests were, CEO Elizabeth Holmes says the company is doing better than fine.
In fact, “we’ve seen our highest volume” of patients taking the blood tests, she claimed at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday.
Theranos’ tests, including a signature finger-prick test, use much less blood than traditional lab tests making it easier and cheaper for people to get lab work done.
Holmes and Theranos have been under fire from all sides in recent months: In October, the FDA released documents related to its visit of Theranos’ labs after the company got FDA approval to run a herpes test on its finger-prick technology. The forms did not make Theranos look good.
But Holmes said Theranos can handle the road bumps that comes with going through the FDA process.
“We’re getting beat up a lot for it, but it’s the right thing to do,” Holmes said.
If anything, Holmes reiterated that getting thrown in the spotlight has actually helped Theranos realise that it wasn’t explaining how the tests work to a national audience (Theranos operates testing centres out of California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona).
But Theranos has been hit hard. It reportedly lost a $350 million deal with Safeway to build testing facilities in its supermarkets. And the Journal reported in October that a Theranos-Walgreens partnership had stalled until the blood-testing company could provide more information about its finger-prick tests.
Even so, Holmes seems to believe that Theranos can weather the storm. When asked how Theranos can deliver on its now $10-billion valuation, Holmes said “That’s for investors to decide.”
In terms of cash flow, she said, the company has been growing based on its operations running the tests for the past 10 years.
“I don’t think that our valuation is what matters here. What matters here is the integrity of our data.”
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