The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder

January 11, 2022

A California jury found Holmes guilty of conspiring to defraud investors in her blood-testing startup. The 37-year-old was convicted on four of 11 counts. Holmes was acquitted on four counts and the jury could not reach a decision on three counts.
The verdict comes after a stunning downfall that saw Holmes, once hailed as the next Steve Jobs, go from being a tech industry icon to being a rare Silicon Valley entrepreneur on trial for fraud.
Prosecutors said Holmes swindled private investors between 2010 and 2015 by convincing them Theranos’ small machines could run a range of tests with a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
Holmes was also charged with misleading patients about the accuracy of the tests.
She could face up to 20 years in jail, although legal experts say she’s unlikely to receive the maximum sentence.
Here are the highlights of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos.
Holmes, then just 19 years old, drops out of Stanford University to set up Real-Time Cures, the company that will eventually become Theranos. She dreams of revolutionising diagnostic testing.
The new company raises more than $6m in funding, reaching a valuation of $30m.
Holmes’s then-partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani joins Theranos as chief operating officer.
Theranos raises a further $45m in funding, reaching a valuation of $1bn.
Theranos begins attracting high-profile board members, including two former US secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger.
The company moves to the former Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.
Theranos begins promoting its technology, claiming to be able to run a wide range of tests on a single drop of blood using a machine called the Edison, and enters into a partnership with pharmacy group Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Having raised more than $400m, Theranos is valued at more than $9bn. Holmes is recognised by Forbes as a billionaire – a reflection of her stake in the company.
February 2015
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association criticises Theranos for failing to publish any of its research in peer-reviewed journals.
July 2015
Theranos wins US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a test to detect the herpes simplex 1 virus.
October 2015
The Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos uses its technology for just a small number of its tests and that employees doubt their accuracy.
The FDA subsequently releases a finding that the company used unapproved devices for tests.
January 2016
The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a report that one of the company’s facilities presents “jeopardy to patient health and safety”.
The agency said an inspection revealed that the facility did not meet its own quality-control standards, including not properly calibrating equipment.
June 2016
Walgreens ends its relationship with Theranos.
October 2016
Partner Fund Management, which invested nearly $100m in Theranos, sues the company for securities fraud, claiming it lied about its technology to secure the investment. The case is later settled.
April 2017
Theranos reaches a deal with CMS barring it from the blood-testing business for two years.
March 2018
The US Securities and Exchange Commission charges Theranos, Holmes and Balwani with securities fraud. Holmes is stripped of her stake in and control of the company.
June 2018
Holmes and Balwani are indicted on criminal fraud charges. Both plead not guilty.
September 2018
Theranos announces that it will dissolve.
March 2021
Holmes reveals she is pregnant.
August 2021
Holmes gives birth to her child. A court filing reveals that Holmes plans to argue she was under the control of Balwani, who she says was abusive, at the time of the charged crimes. Balwani denies the allegations in court filings.
September 2021
Trial begins in San Jose, California.
November 2021
Holmes takes the stand to testify in her defence. She denies seeking to mislead investors and patients. She says Balwani was in charge of financial models provided to investors and that he was abusive in their relationship.
December 2021
Jurors hear closing arguments from both sides.
January 3, 2022
Holmes is convicted on charges of defrauding three other investors, as well as conspiring to do so. She is acquitted on three counts of defrauding patients who paid for tests from Theranos and a related conspiracy charge.
The jury could not reach a decision on three counts related to individual investors. A sentencing date is not immediately set. She faces up to 80 years in prison when sentenced by US District Judge Edward Davila but will probably get a less severe sentence.

-With input

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