Theranos’ biggest partner has finally abandoned the company.
Citing Theranos’ decision to void two years worth of test results and a government agency’s rejection of the company’s plan of correction, Walgreens said that its relationship with Theranos was over effective immediately.
The termination shutters an additional 40 Theranos Wellness Centres, where people can go to have their blood drawn, in Walgreens stores.
Theranos’ problems came into focus in October, when the The Wall Street Journal reported its tests weren’t producing accurate results and the company was trying to cover it up.
Since The Journal’s report, the company, which once fetched a $9 billion valuation, has lost out on a key deal, had one of its two labs shut down, and wound up under investigation by several government agencies. Its founder, 32-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, faces a two-year ban from the blood-testing business, its president and chief operating officer Sunny Balwani has left the company, its $9 billion valuation has been struck down, and it voided or corrected tens of thousands of blood tests in an attempt to make things right with the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Theranos had been running blood tests since 2013, at one point serving as many as 46 locations. Theranos’ blood-testing center in Pennsylvania has remained closed since January.
Here’s what Theranos has left:
- Theranos still operates five centres (four in Arizona, one in California).
- It still has plans to present its scientific data at a medical conference in August, at which point the company will have to show whether its technology is as revolutionary as it seems.
- Theranos did finally create a medical advisory board in April, with eight scientists from major universities and hospitals, which is meant to find ways to present the data to the scientific community.
- Its Arizona lab remains open, though its California lab is still under scrutiny following a failed CMS inspection.
Most of Theranos’ commercial operations that put its tests to use hinged on its agreement with Walgreens.
“We are disappointed that Walgreens has chosen to terminate our relationship and remain fully committed to our mission to provide patients access to affordable health information and look forward to continuing to serve customers in Arizona and California through our retail locations,” a Theranos spokeswoman in a statement to Business Insider.
Gaining back that ground won’t be easy, and likely any partnership from here on out will rely on validating the company’s technology.
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