Elizabeth Holmes dropped out to of the Stanford University when she was 19. Holmes started working on her dream company 'THERANOS.' She says she had an aim to revolutionize health care and reinvent lab tests. She wished to do many laboratory tests to detect diseases present in blood just by using a few drops of blood. Even from a mere finger prick, these drops could be obtained easily. Fabstory is taking you on the downfall journey of Elizabeth…THE RED SECRET OF HOLMES.
Theranos, a company led by Elizabeth Holmes, claimed to offer this service of laboratory tests using minimal volumes of blood. Withdrawing tubes and tubes of blood for testing purposes was always scary for Holmes. This is why she came up with this idea of making various lab tests possible with a few drops of blood. In addition to this, Holmes says that she used to spend her summers with her uncle, whom she loved to the core. Her uncle had skin cancer. She had to lose her uncle to this deadly cancer. This loss of her made her work towards Theranos with complete determination.
"We are working as a day when nobody will have to say good-bye too soon," said Holmes.
Holmes talked about her idea to Dr. Phyllis Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. Dr. Gardner said that it was impossible to execute the idea. However, Holmes did not give up. She kept proposing her idea to people who could help her out. Finally, Holmes managed to get people who supported her idea. Soon she built Theranos and became the founder and former CEO of the company.
The company, Theranos, in the silicon valley experienced a great rise between the years 2004 and 2015. Holmes raised six million dollars by December 2004 to fund Theranos. Elizabeth managed to get investors for her company. By the end of 2010, Theranos owned millions of dollars in its capital venture. Elizabeth worked day and night for Theranos. She worked on four hours of sleep. According to her, she married Theranos. Due to this exponential rise of Theranos and Elizabeth, Forbes recognized Elizabeth as the youngest self-made female billionaire. Elizabeth was an admirer of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple company. She was found dressing similar to him in black turtlenecks. She also hired people who worked for Apple.
Elizabeth worked on innovation, that she believed could make all the lab tests possible using a few drops of blood. In Theranos this machine was known as Edison. Due to all the trials and errors required in its creation, it got this name.. Later, Elizabeth addressed and revealed the machine as 'mini-lab.' Edison was not good at efficiency. It could do just a few of the tests. As a result, Edison could do only less than 10 percent of the tests, promised by Theranos. Elizabeth termed every person unsuitable for Silicon Valley when the person denied the possibility of her idea.
Elizabeth Holmes was running Theranos in stealth mode. She neither had a website nor any press release until 2016. Moreover, the employees of Theranos kept the trade secrets of the company confidential. They had to support the confidentiality of the company. The company didn't allow the employees to share their work, even with the family members.
Ian Gibbons was one among the high profiled hired people of Theranos. Gibbons was a British scientist. To bring the technology Theranos promised, to the existence, was his responsibility. The idea of Elizabeth was impossible. Even after knowing this, Gibbons kept on trying. Gibbons was aware that the technology Elizabeth wished for and promised, was a great and unfeasible idea. Nevertheless, he didn't give up trying for the sake of his job, to cut all the doubts. He did this even while living with cancer.
Soon, Elizabeth Holmes started a partnership in a company named Walgreens. Gibbons already knew that the technology Theranos promised to Walgreens and to the world does not exist. Also, he feared it might not ever exist. Gibbons got tensed. He had a fear of losing his job. His wife said, he committed suicide due to these situations.
Theranos claimed it could do over 200 lab tests using a few drops of blood. Edison was inefficient to do all the lab tests Theranos promised to do with minimal volumes of blood. Moreover, the results and assay Edison produced was not at all reliable. It gave the wrong information. The results produced by Theranos were not matching with those of the other laboratories. This indicated a great threat to healthcare and to customers of Theranos.
Forbes revised Elizabeth Holmes's net worth to zero dollars. Fortune termed Holmes as one of the "World's most disappointing leaders."
A story published by John Carreyrou revealed that Theranos did not use the Edison for testing purposes, as it provided inaccurate results. They instead used traditional methods by commercially available machines to do the lab tests. These machines were purchased from companies like Siemens.
Tyler Shultz, who was an employee of Theranos, provided this information. Tyler was the grandson of George Shultz. George was a then-member of Theranos's board of directors. Tyler worked for Theranos for a year or so. After witnessing the issues of inaccuracy, he tried bringing them to notice. Anyhow, the company didn't take any action on the issue. Tyler says the inaccuracy was dangerous. If Theranos tested 100 people having syphilis, only 65 of them may get detected. The rest 35 would be declared healthy, according to Tyler.
Elizabeth was very close to the Shultz family. She used to visit them on birthdays and festivals. This is why George Shultz, at first had difficulty believing his grandson, speaking about the issues of Theranos.
Elizabeth Holmes denied all the information mentioned by John Carreyrou. She stated it as false and incorrect. She also tried revealing Edison, which she was operating in stealth mode for so long. Theranos also used to withdraw blood through venepuncture instead of pricking the finger. This raised a lot of questions and problems on Theranos. Due to all the fraud practices of deceiving people and investors, Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani, who is the founder President and chief executive officer of Theranos, are under criminal charges of frauds and conspiracies. Walgreens sued Threranos. Theranos misled Walgreens, is what Walgreens claimed.
Theranos was officially shut down in September 2018. It is now a defunct company. Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani are facing their court trials. Elizabeth also fired Ramesh Balwani, her ex-boyfriend from Theranos. Holmes is now engaged to a hospitality heir.
Both Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani have pled not guilty. If convicted, Elizabeth will face 20 years of imprisonment. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos will be soon coming up as a movie named 'Bad Blood' starring Jennifer Lawrence. The book of John Carreyrou called 'bad blood' is the inspiration for the movie.