Theranos just made a crucial move that could potentially help its reputation

Elizabeth Holmes TheranosLarry Busacca/GettyTheranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos just made a major change to its leadership.

Last fall, when the controversial blood-testing startup was first facing major criticism over concerns that its technology wasn’t as promising as it had been made out to be, one of the problems cited was that its board of directors included a paltry number of professionals with science credentials.

Theranos responded shortly afterward by announcing it would add a medical advisory board to its leadership.

Now, that advisory group has expanded into a scientific and medical advisory board, and the new additions are a stark contrast from the government and military backgrounds of many of its other board’s members.

The eight members of the board, along with co-chair (and CEO) Elizabeth Holmes now are:

  • William H. Foege — former director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (he’s also part of the company’s Board of Counselors)
  • David Helfet (co-chair) — an orthopaedic trauma surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Andy Miller — a doctor of internal medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Susan Evans — former president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry
  • Ann Gronowski — professor of pathology and immunology as well as obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine
  • Jack Ladenson — professor of clinical chemistry, pathology, and immunology
  • Larry Kricka — professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Steven Spitalnik — professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University

So now, that’s four medical doctors, six professors, and an entire board with scientific backgrounds.

Co-chair David Helfet told Business Insider that he’s been in contact with Theranos for about three years discussing what an advisory board for the company would look like. He said it was only in the last few months that they decided that the priority was to get independent scientists to review Theranos’s blood-testing technology.

Helfet said he was very excited about the possibilities for the board, whose first step is to approach the Theranos blood-testing technology independently, either by testing it out themselves or by being shown the technology and how it works, said Helfet. The next step will be finding ways to present the data to the scientific community.

“This group together is really going to help not just Theranos, but all of the scientists out there who are involved, to understand the technology and utilise the technology and science,” he said.

In a release Thursday, Theranos said the members who have laboratory experience will also help the company with its clinical laboratories through inspections, and implementation of procedures.

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