Author of book on rise and fall of Theranos to appear in Tempe

Jun 2, 2018, 4:49 AM | Updated: Jun 21, 2018, 2:25 pm
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. (Twitter Photo/@theranos)...
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. (Twitter Photo/@theranos)
(Twitter Photo/@theranos)

PHOENIX — The author of a book about Theranos, the blood-testing firm that made a killing in Arizona before being uncovered as a fraud, is coming to the Valley for a free event.

John Carreyrou, an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was scheduled to hold a conversation about “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe at 7 p.m. Monday.

The book details the rise and fall of Theranos and its charismatic founder, Elizabeth Holmes.

Under an agreement reached in March with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Holmes was fined $500,000. She forfeited control Theranos and was barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years.

The settlement came two years after the SEC, prompted by a Carreyrou’s investigation, began looking into claims Theranos had made about its potentially revolutionary blood-testing technology.

In 2015, Holmes had convinced the Arizona State Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to pass a law allowing patients to get blood tests without a doctor’s order, for the direct benefit of Theranos.

After the Journal’s reporting revealed that Theranos’ method was neither revolutionary nor particularly accurate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich pursued a consumer fraud case against the company.

In April 2017, Theranos agreed to pay Arizona consumers $4.65 million.

Theranos reportedly sold about 1.5 million blood tests to more than 175,000 Arizonans between 2013 and 2015. Ten percent of the tests that customers ordered have been voided or corrected, according to the company.

The Journal quoted former employees that suspected the technology was a fraud, and it found that the company was using routine blood-testing equipment for the vast majority of its tests. The story raised concerns about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood testing technology, which put patients at risk of having conditions either misdiagnosed or ignored.

Holmes, 34, founded Theranos in Palo Alto, California, in 2003, pitching the company’s technology as a cheaper way to run dozens of blood tests. Once considered the nation’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes said she was inspired to start the company in response to her fear of needles.

Theranos raised millions in startup funding by promoting its tests as costing a fraction of what other labs charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Author of book on rise and fall of Theranos to appear in Tempe