One of Theranos' blood-testing rivals nabbed a deal with Safeway

Only a few weeks after The Wall Street Journal reported a $350 million deal between blood-testing startup Theranos and Safeway had fallen apart, Safeway has started a new partnership with one of Theranos’ biggest competitors.

Theranos, the Silicon Valley-based startup known for its blood tests that only use a finger-prick’s worth of blood, came under fire in October after the Journal raised questions about the accuracy of the company’s test results.

Theranos has denied that there’s a problem with the tests, but a deal between Theranos and Safeway to put testing clinics in more than 800 supermarkets reportedly fizzled out following the initial report. Theranos has also denied the existence of the Theranos-Safeway deal.

As part of the new deal, which was announced by Sonora Quest last week, Safeway will be opening Sonora Quest Laboratories testing centres in some Arizona stores. One is is already open in Scottsdale. Safeway confirmed the new centres in Scottsdale and Phoenix to the Arizona Republic, but wouldn’t discuss details of the deal. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

We’ve reached out to Safeway, Sonora Quest and Theranos for comment and will update if we hear back.

Sonora Quest is a joint venture made by Banner Health and Quest Diagnostics — one of Theranos’ main competitors. The company offers doctor-ordered blood tests and more recently started a limited number of direct-to-consumer blood tests, the Arizona Republic reports. Sonora Quest uses traditional blood testing equipment to run its tests.

Sonora Quest will only provide certain tests directly to consumers, such as lipid panel screening and complete blood counts, Sonora Quest’s medical director Robert Stern told the Arizona Republic. More specialised tests will be available only when a physician is involved.

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