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The laboratory startup Theranos, under pressure from federal regulators, has stopped using finger pricks to collect blood samples for all except one of its tests, The Wall Street Journal reports.
That follows months of scrutiny that $10 billion Theranos and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, have faced regarding the company’s signature blood-testing method, which was thought to potentially revolutionize the industry.
Theranos wants to conduct blood tests for health issues through a single prick of the finger, 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 in an article published Thursday said Theranos was struggling to make its in-house technology actually work, reporting that at the end of last year only about 10% of Theranos’ blood tests used its technology, with the rest of the tests being carried out using traditional blood-testing tech.
Theranos struck back against that article with a statement released shortly after the 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,” the company said. “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. Disappointingly, the Journal chose to publish this article without even mentioning the facts Theranos shared that disproved the many falsehoods in the article.”
Theranos, according to The Journal, went to great lengths to make sure The Journal’s report wouldn’t be published.
The Journal, which spoke with former Theranos employees, their families, numerous experts, and the company’s lawyers for its story, said Theranos fought the paper throughout the entire investigation.
“I personally was shocked” that the Wall Street Journal chose to publish that report, Holmes said on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show.
“Every test that we offer in our lab can be run on our proprietary devices,” Holmes told Cramer, noting that the company has submitted at least 130 of their proprietary tests for FDA approval.
Holmes did not deny that the company uses standard blood-testing technology for many of its tests, though she declined to say whether that was true for most tests offered or only a few.