Did her lawyers expect otherwise? This weekend’s news of Elizabeth Holmes’ legal team at Cooley LLP withdrawing their representation services due to non-payment should not have caused much surprise. Cooley’s attorney team petitioned the court to withdraw from the case, stating that “Ms. Holmes has not paid Cooley for any of its work as her counsel of record in this action for more than a year.” Cooley was representing Ms. Holmes in a class-action civil suit in Phoenix brought against her, former Theranos president Sunny Balwani, and Walgreens, charging fraud and medical battery. (When they withdraw, will she seek public... Continue Reading
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Health tech bubble watch: Rock Health’s mid-2019 funding assessment amid Big IPOs (updated: Health Catalyst, Livongo, more)
...that??’–it’s time to take a step back from the screen and do something constructive like rebuild an engine or take a swim. Having observed or worked for companies in bubbles since 1980 in three industries– post-deregulation airlines in the 1980s, internet (dot.com) from the mid-1990s to 2001, first stage telecare/telehealth (2006-8), and healthcare today (Theranos/Outcome Health), a moderate bubble never, ever deflates–it expands, then bursts. The textbook #3 was the dot.com boom/bust; it not only fried internet companies but many vendors all over the US and kicked off a recession. Rock Health also downplayed #5, fraud and misuse of funds.... Continue Reading
...peak, leaving their founders and some employees cheerful indeed. On the other hand, and far more common: the demise of some is understandable, others regrettable, and nearly none of them are cause for celebration in our field–Theranos and Outcome Health being exceptions. This Editor has been a marketing head of two of them (now deceased except for their technology, out there somewhere), and has discussed marketing, funding, and business models with more startups and early-stage companies than she can count. If anything, investors have less patience than they did back in the Grizzled Pioneer period of the early 2000s, when... Continue Reading
It’s just weird. It’s just a bit surreal. When you see someone have this situation and pretend that everything is normal. It’s so bizarre.–Erika Cheung, former Theranos lab associate, whistleblower Will health tech learn its lesson? As in Chapter 58, we are now in Full Retrospective on Theranos, with Cautionary Tales abounding. One of the better ones is from one of the two young whistleblowers profiled in John Carreyrou’s ‘Bad Blood’, Erika Cheung. She was the young (23) lab associate who saw patient samples from Walgreens and other patients constantly fail quality controls, finally reported it to regulators when nobody... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 59: there’s life left in the corporate corpse–patents! And no trial date in sight.
...you hunger for a deep dive into the design of Theranos’ blood analyzers that never really worked, and can appreciate that the miniLab was what “one expert in laboratory medicine called “theater … not science”, this Design World article is for you: Schadenfreude for Theranos — and satisfaction in how engineering doesn’t lie Meanwhile, back in the US District Court in San Jose, California, we learn that the trial of Ms. Holmes (now engaged to William “Billy” Evans, a 27-year-old heir to the Evans Hotel Group, which has three West Coast resort properties and who is also a techie) and... Continue Reading
...mushy. From their press release: “We want this first set of ten statements to spur conversations in board rooms, classrooms and community centers around the country and ultimately be refined and adopted widely.” –Michael A. Keller, Stanford’s university librarian and vice provost for teaching and learning So everyone gets to feel good and take home a trophy? Nowhere are there next steps, corporate statements of adoption, and so on. Let’s keep in mind that Stanford University was the nexus of the Fraud That Was Theranos, which is discreetly not mentioned. If not a shadow hovering in the background, it should... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 58: with HBO and ABC, let the mythmaking and psychiatric profiling begin! (updated)
This Editor thought that her next articles about Theranos would be trial coverage. There are court dates pending for Elizabeth Holmes and Not-So-Sunny Balwani–with the DOJ for 11 counts of wire fraud [TTA 16 June] and, for Mr. Balwani, with the SEC on (civil) securities fraud [TTA 15 March]. Instead, Theranos hits the headlines again. On 18 March, there’s the debut of an HBO documentary on Theranos. Titled The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley (YouTube preview), we can treat ourselves once again to the SteveJobs-esque presence of Ms. Holmes, down to the unnaturally deep voice, blondined hair, and... Continue Reading
...aggressive corporate announcements, and mass media hype.” The term ‘stealth research’ was prompted to the author by the practices of Theranos–ironically, a company that started and was funded in the Stanford nexus. By the time Dr. Ioannidis’ viewpoint paper was published in JAMA in Feb 2015, Theranos had ballooned to a $9 bn valuation. His paper was the first to question Theranos’ science–and Theranos aggressively pushed back against Dr. Ioannidis, including their general counsel attempting to convince the author to recant his own writing. Three years later, we know the outcome. This latest study concludes that there is a real... Continue Reading
It’s not a bubble, really! Or developing? Analysis of Rock Health’s verdict on 2018’s digital health funding.
...didn’t rate a mention) Surge of cash from new investors (rising valuations per #5–and a more prosperous environment for investments of all types) High valuations decoupled from fundamentals (Rock Health didn’t consider Verily’s billion, which was after all in January) Fraud or misuse of funds (Theranos, Outcome dismissed by Rock as ‘outliers’, but no mention of Zenefits or HealthTap) Having observed bubbles since 1980 in three industries– post-deregulation airlines in the 1980s, internet (dot.com) in the 1990s, and healthcare today (Theranos/Outcome), ‘moderately’ doesn’t diminish–it builds to a peak, then bursts. Dot.com’s bursting bubble led to a recession, hand in hand... Continue Reading
...with distressed users create a sensational cast and skew the finished result. We hope Ms. Olson continues to investigate and publish like the estimable John Carreyrou with Theranos–unlike The Fraud That Was Theranos, she has an opportunity to be part of making Babylon a better company. Babylon also owes her some answers and transparency. we hope she continues to pursue the story. At this point, there’s no evidence that Babylon is vaporware. There are no non-working Edison machines and miniLabs which Theranos hid behind a veil of extreme secrecy, Silicon Valley hype, and ‘I Want To Believe’. Babylon is working... Continue Reading