Theranos

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Submitted by harvey on May 23, 2016 - 3:56pm

I first read about this company a while back and recently checked in to see what was up.

That chick running the scam has a seriously creepy vibe.

It's amazing how dumb the smart money can be.

Submitted by no_such_reality on May 23, 2016 - 4:10pm.

Too much money chasing some place to be.

Submitted by joec on May 23, 2016 - 5:21pm.

I suppose I am not the only one then...I have seen interviews with Holmes and on this company for a while and all the interviews with the head person there makes me not like her for whatever reason.

Like you said, maybe something isn't right, but all the secrecy and a lot of the controversy surrounding the place (I think one of the early researchers committed suicide too) makes me happy the whole place is sorta imploding.

They make all these claims, have been in stealth mode for 10+ years? and no scientific reports. When some research is finally done, it is now known that it was all a sham with fake results, errors in reporting, etc etc etc...

Just more silicon valley "hype" and bubble talk.

I wonder what the valuation is now after they hit 10 billion.

Submitted by harvey on May 23, 2016 - 5:46pm.

I'll confess that there is some desire for schadenfreude behind my interest in this shitshow.

No college degree in an intensely scientific field, no experience with process in a highly regulated domain, no business relationships in a very mature industry ... and none of that mattered to investors.

Her lack of qualifications was apparently her biggest qualification!

Submitted by mixxalot on May 23, 2016 - 6:23pm.

Pardon my ignorance but WTF is Theranos?

Submitted by phaster on May 23, 2016 - 6:39pm.

mixxalot wrote:
Pardon my ignorance but WTF is Theranos?

BioTech company that has "REVOLUTIONARY FINGER-STICK TECHNOLOGY" for blood analysis ;-)

"cause I know more than anybody, Buy! Buy! Buy!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n5pd9eKapY

Submitted by harvey on May 23, 2016 - 6:41pm.

mixxalot wrote:
Pardon my ignorance but WTF is Theranos?

http://www.google.com/search?q=theranos&...

Submitted by njtosd on May 23, 2016 - 8:06pm.

The thing that surprises me is that Theranos filed patent applications on it's (theoretical) developments. Applications that go beyond a provisional application are published at the 18 month mark. So why did they keep saying that it was all so super secret? Most of their so called technology has been available to the public for a while now. Perhaps they were trying to suggest that they had something better than what was in their patent applications....? According to the PTO database, there are 109 applications that have published (so far) that have been assigned to Theranos.

I think the business world was looking for a female Steve Jobs. It didn't hurt that she was young and blonde. I think she's at least a little Aspergers and probably could not let go of the idea that she had something great. The money lost is a tax on those who have forgotten the idea that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Submitted by Balboa_Again on May 24, 2016 - 10:33am.

Yeah, I assumed they were trying to have the best of both worlds. Create the impression of very valuable trade secrets, while churning out a bunch of apps to create the impression of a very valuable portfolio. Move directly to "Go!" and collect absurd valuation.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on May 24, 2016 - 11:33am.

njtosd wrote:

I think the business world was looking for a female Steve Jobs. It didn't hurt that she was young and blonde. I think she's at least a little Aspergers and probably could not let go of the idea that she had something great. The money lost is a tax on those who have forgotten the idea that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

I had seen her on some interviews before and she seems a little creepy to me.

The old men, past their prime, like Henry Kissinger who populated her board could not see beyond the facade. That's frequently the case.

Submitted by mixxalot on May 25, 2016 - 10:04am.

Ah that scam startup!

Submitted by ltsdd on May 25, 2016 - 10:50am.

FlyerInHi wrote:

The old men, past their prime, like Henry Kissinger who populated her board could not see beyond the facade. That's frequently the case.

Why would the guy care? He's there to line his pocket. On the other hand, how on earth was she able to pull this past the VCs?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on May 25, 2016 - 5:09pm.

She charmed the old influencial men. And the VCs thought if all those guys are supporting her, then there must be something very valuable.

Submitted by Hatfield on May 25, 2016 - 9:22pm.

Yeah, it was weird who she packed the board with. Presumably it was to win lucrative VA contracts. As I'm guessing you all saw, a couple days ago the WSJ reported that they'd just invalidated TWO YEARS of tests using their flagship Edison testing product. They'd been faking their data all along.

Submitted by mixxalot on May 26, 2016 - 10:52am.

wow quite a con artist this woman is!

Submitted by FlyerInHi on May 26, 2016 - 11:50am.

What's pretty amazing is the loss is $9 billion of wealth.

Total cash loss is under $500 million from what I read.

Submitted by moneymaker on May 26, 2016 - 1:23pm.

Does anybody want to talk about the science behind Theranos? Reminds me of this kid from a few years back https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Andraka seems today's scientists are not like Jonas Salk from years ago.

Submitted by harvey on May 26, 2016 - 1:51pm.

The behavioral science behind this fraud is probably far more interesting than the biochemistry.

Submitted by moneymaker on May 26, 2016 - 3:06pm.

I think it is interesting that the cure for polio was found 64 years ago, a very specific disease, where the cure involved stimulating the immune system. Now today they are talking about stimulating the immune system in a more general way to fight cancer. It has taken science way too long to appreciate the immune system we each have within us. Have no idea what Theranos claims but since they are talking about a drop of blood or less I will guess it involves nano technology, which I hear is very hot in upstate New York.

Submitted by Myriad on May 26, 2016 - 3:18pm.

I'm done some reading on this - I don't think she's a con artist. Overly optimistic, completely disregard criticisms, incorrect understanding of science, and complete disregard for standard health testing practices - Absolutely Yes.
But I also think she really thought she was going to change the world.

But why VCs didn't do more research and ask more questions? That's a different problem - or they just didn't care.

Submitted by harvey on May 26, 2016 - 3:59pm.

The best con artists have no clue that they actually are con artists.

Submitted by njtosd on May 27, 2016 - 7:45am.

moneymaker wrote:
I think it is interesting that the cure for polio was found 64 years ago, a very specific disease, where the cure involved stimulating the immune system. Now today they are talking about stimulating the immune system in a more general way to fight cancer. It has taken science way too long to appreciate the immune system we each have within us. Have no idea what Theranos claims but since they are talking about a drop of blood or less I will guess it involves nano technology, which I hear is very hot in upstate New York.

Modifying the activity of the immune system is a common strategy that has been extensively studied for a long time. Millstein and Kohler won the Nobel prize in the 1984 for discovering a method of making pure samples of antibodies. They fused antibody producing cells (which produce only one kind of antibody but do not divide) with cancerous cells (which provide the machinery for endless division). These were called hybridomas and they make "monoclonal" or pure samples of antibodies. Interferon, interleukins, all of the drugs that you see on TV that look like "Adilumimab" are all immune modulators. All of it has to do with activating (or deactivating) cellular processes by interacting with cell surface proteins. I hate to say this, but "new to you" isn't necessarily new.

The problem with Theranos (to analogize) is that they hypothesized that because there are sharks in the ocean, you will find a shark in every gallon of ocean water you sample. Of course, that's not the case. You need a lot of water to find one shark. And you need a lot of blood to get even a few molecules of certain proteins. More to get a statistically reliable reading.

Submitted by moneymaker on May 27, 2016 - 8:27am.

"Nanotechnology is the future"! As anyone that reads comic books knows. The fine line when it comes to the immune system is to keep the body from attacking itself. That is why so many people claimed aids was made in a government lab, because if possible it would be plausable. OT: Anybody see the Scrips National spelling Bee yesterday, that 11 year old kid was f*****g amazing.

Submitted by harvey on June 1, 2016 - 9:21am.

$4.5 billion to zero in a year.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4-5-billio...

Submitted by joec on June 2, 2016 - 7:01pm.

Saw this also....Yay...

I guess.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on June 3, 2016 - 12:12am.

moneymaker wrote:
Anybody see the Scrips National spelling Bee yesterday, that 11 year old kid was f*****g amazing.

Jimmy kimmel had them on his show and then I watched them on YouTube. Amazing kids
Cute
http://youtu.be/bAOoFGCh1eY

Submitted by harvey on March 14, 2018 - 10:44am.

$500K penalty for "massive fraud"

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/...

I don't know all the numbers but I'm guessing she made more than that along the way.

Submitted by ucodegen on March 16, 2018 - 3:53pm.

harvey wrote:
$500K penalty for "massive fraud"

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/...

I don't know all the numbers but I'm guessing she made more than that along the way.


She did.. most of it was in stock that she still had which she was also ordered to surrender. There is also another person who should be eyed: Ramesh Sunny Balwani, supposed one time boyfriend, 64 to her current 34 (take that back 10 years or more and think,.... ewwww). He was point person on the testing fraud, saying that all testing samples should be run through their other standard machines as opposed to their flagship while contracted diagnostic jobs could go through their 'Einstein' machine. His argument was that anyone who thought otherwise doesn't have any legal experience. His background is CS. NOTE: I am not saying she is innocent, but there are two players of concern in Theranos, and Balwani seems to be one that SECs seems to target more than her.

Theranos was in the market of diagnostic testing. Their 'Einstein' unit was supposed to do the tests faster and with much less blood. NOTE: 1 cc of water contains 6.022 x 10^23 molecules of water, so 1/4 of the quantity is enough to sense ppm quantities of a material (with caveats following) in blood. 1ppm means that there will be (6.022/4) x 10^23 x 10^-6 or . 1.5055x10^17 molecules (one hundred and fifty million-billion) to work with for a 1ppm sense. It is possible to do diagnostics on small amounts. DNA test works with far less. The little device the hospital clamps on your fingertip - measures blood oxygen non-intrusively as well as heart rate for some installations.

Caveat: when drawing blood from a fingertip, it is not as pure as from artery (source), you are getting blood in 'transition', as it is being used by the body. It is also subject to being tainted by chemicals and substances that you recently handled and may either coat or partially permeate the skin. This made worse if a person being tested has poor circulation.

I found the tech interesting, but Theranos was not the only one looking at the tech. I could not see any 'moat' or lock-in to the tech. I was also bothered by the lack experience that Elizabeth Holmes had, and that this business was completely outside her field of study. The business was rather opaque, and DD was difficult. By the time my DD was done (what little I could do), the price had gone way past anything that I thought was remotely reasonable (even after getting totally drunk).

One thing to note; the Theranos test is more accurate with arterial blood than from a fingerprick.. but their whole selling point was you only needed a fingerprick. NOTE: Taking blood by fingerprick is much more painful than the traditional because of the number of nerve endings on the tip of a finger.

Submitted by spdrun on March 16, 2018 - 4:02pm.

Small nit to pick :)

6.022 x 10^23 molecules = 1 mole.

1 cc = approx 1 gram of water.

Water is approximately 18 grams per mole.

Therefore, 1cc =~ 1/18 mole or 3.34x10^22 molecules.

Rest of your point stands ... though even though there are a lot of molecules available in 1cc of blood, the tests for them have to actually be accurate. The accuracy, not the availablilty of molecules to test seems to be at issue here.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on March 16, 2018 - 9:55pm.

She got off lightly compared to Martin Shkreli. He was a jerk, that's why.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/pos...

Submitted by ucodegen on March 17, 2018 - 12:07am.

spdrun wrote:
Small nit to pick :)

6.022 x 10^23 molecules = 1 mole.


Yep, I know
spdrun wrote:

1 cc = approx 1 gram of water.

Water is approximately 18 grams per mole.

Therefore, 1cc =~ 1/18 mole or 3.34x10^22 molecules.


noted that I was off (typing too fast). 8(
spdrun wrote:

Rest of your point stands ... though even though there are a lot of molecules available in 1cc of blood, the tests for them have to actually be accurate. The accuracy, not the availablilty of molecules to test seems to be at issue here.

It was supposed to work on the 'nano' level, meaning that there would be plenty of molecules and it should be sensitive enough to function. It is an interesting idea, however I think it was also rushed to market. I don't know if they tested for cross-response on the sensing sites (which could bind/respond to something else than the intended target). I also think that intentionally sticking with the idea of only using a fingerprick of blood was a bad idea (source blood purity). I hope that the tech still finds its way to improvement and does not get grabbed by the COO (Ramesh Sunny Balwani) who was definitely part of the problem. She has admitted her fault, paid a price, surrendered her shares. He is still claiming that there was no fraud and holding onto his shares.

The company 'Theranos' still has a lot of money from earlier funding efforts. Something around 700Mil. Most of the tech rights may end up going to these bond holders as a result of BK.

This is kind of the direction Theranos was 'supposedly' heading. I would need to do a patent check to verify if that was actually where they were going.
http://www.pnas.org/content/100/3/820
https://sensing.xprize.org/teams/competi...

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