Theranos, the $US9 billion biotech startup that claims to have a new approach to blood testing, came under fire on Wednesday when the Wall Street Journal published an incendiary investigative report about the company and its technology.
Theranos wants to conduct blood tests for health issues through a single finger stick rather than by having to draw vials of blood in a doctor’s office. Its goal is to make clinical testing cheaper and faster.
The Journal’s report alleges Theranos is struggling to make its ‘revolutionary’ in-house technology actually work, and reports that only about 10% of Theranos’ blood tests use its technology, with the rest of the tests being carried out using traditional blood-testing tech. Even the company’s own employees have concerns about Theranos’ blood tests.
The Journal appears to have made every effort to get Theranos to comment on its five-month reporting. Holmes did not speak with the Journal for the story.
But the company struck back against the Journal’s report with a lengthy statement released shortly after the WSJ’s story was published.
“Today’s Wall Street Journal story about Theranos is factually and scientifically erroneous and grounded in baseless assertions by inexperienced and disgruntled former employees and industry incumbents. Theranos presented the facts to this reporter to prove the accuracy and reliability of its tests and to directly refute these false allegations, including through over 1,000 pages of statements and documents,” according to the statement.
“Disappointingly, the Journal chose to publish this article without even mentioning the facts Theranos shared that disproved the many falsehoods in the article.”
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, has also been tweeting about the Journal’s story. She responded to one software developer’s tweet, saying that Theranos offered to show the Journal its technology and they “declined.”
Theranos, according to the Journal, went to great lengths to make sure the Journal’s report wouldn’t be published. The Journal, which spoke to former Theranos employees, their families, a number of experts, and the company’s lawyers for its story, said Theranos fought the paper throughout the entire investigation.
Theranos even visited some of the people who spoke to the Journal for the Theranos story, and requested they “sign prepared statements that said the Journal mischaracterized their comments.”