Elizabeth Holmes’ billion-dollar success story may be reaching bloody end

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Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood test start-up Theranos, which is under fire for reportedly misrepresenting its results. Photo: Theranos/YouTubeFollow BusinessDay on LinkedIn
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 Elizabeth Holmes is learning a hard truth: the highest flyers fall hardest. But the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire still has a few cushions to fall into.

Holmes dropped out of Stanford at the age of 19 in 2003 to pursue what some dismissed as an undergraduate dream: saving lives by making affordable healthcare available as a basic human right.

Her recipe: early detection of a wide range of diseases through blood tests from a fingertip pin-prick instead of a needle and syringe. In 2014 the blood-testing company she founded, Theranos, was valued at $US9 billion. She owns half.

The company is now under federal investigation in the US for allegedly misleading investors, and its future is at stake.

Holmes’ estimated net worth has plummeted by $US900 million since questions were first raised about the accuracy of lab results last October.

But she still has $US3.6 billion to her name, Forbes estimates.

She’s still the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire, and she made the magic first billion at the age of 30, 10 years younger than Steve Jobs did.

And while she’s declared herself “devastated” by reports about the company’s troubles, she’s previously said that her belief in God would see her through.

“When you don’t have anybody to talk to and when you’re going through something that’s hard and believing that you’re doing that because there’s something greater that’s going to come from it – that you can’t even understand – that gives you the strength to keep going,” she told Inc. magazine in a piece published last October.

Hers is a success story everybody wants to believe. Her parents let her use her college fund as seed funding for the company, and she raised another $US6.9 million in the first two years.

Within four years, the company was valued at nearly $US200 million, and three years later it was worth five times that, over $US1 billion.

Fortune magazine put Holmes on its cover wearing her trademark black turtleneck in June 2014 when the company was valued at $US9 billion. In March 2015, she featured in the Time 100 Most Influential People listing.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was on the board of her company, penned a profile describing her as “striking, somewhat ethereal, iron-willed”, a woman who combines “fierce and single-minded dedication with great charm”.

But setbacks have since accumulated. First, a Wall Street Journal investigation reported Theranos had largely failed to develop its finger-prick tests, that it relied on technology developed by other companies, and that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved the technology for only one test out of more than 100 submitted by the company.

Regulatory authorities’ investigations of Theranos’ California lab found “objectionable conditions” and deficiencies likely to cause flawed test results.

Walgreens, the US’s largest pharmaceutical retailer, which had placed Theranos “wellness centres” inside its stores, said it would halt expansion of the partnership.

The FDA determined Theranos’ patented nanotainers were not approved for collecting blood.

Then, this week, the company acknowledged it was under federal investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the US Attorney’s office for the northern district of California.

The Wall Street Journal said the criminal investigation was over whether the company had misled investors about its technology and products.

Holmes told the Today show she took responsibility for what happened in the company.

“The company continues to work closely with regulators and is cooperating fully with all investigations” the company said in a memo to investors, reported by Bloomberg. “Anything that happens in this company is my responsibility at the end of the day.” -Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes https://t.co/u7KGWN2cnk— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 18, 2016This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.

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