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The rise and fall of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes

Tuesday, January 4, 2022
The rise and fall of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial at federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., December 16, 2021. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - A U.S. jury on Monday found Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty of conspiring to defraud investors in the blood testing startup, convicting her on four of 11 counts.

Holmes, 37, was accused of defrauding investors and patients with her claims of revolutionizing lab testing with a machine that used a single drop of blood. She pleaded not guilty.

Here is a timeline of key events leading up to the verdict.

2003 - Holmes founds Theranos, then called Real-Time Cures, after dropping out of Stanford University. Then only 19 years old, Holmes aimed to revolutionize diagnostic testing.

2004 - The nascent company raises more than $6 million in funding, reaching a valuation of $30 million.

2009 - Holmes' then-boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani joins Theranos as chief operating officer.

2010 - Theranos raises a further $45 million in funding, reaching a valuation of $1 billion.

2011 - Theranos begins attracting high-profile board members, including two former U.S. secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger.

2012 - The company moves to the former Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

2013 - Theranos begins promoting its technology, claiming to be able to run a wide range of tests on a single drop of blood using a machine called the Edison, and enters into a partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA).

2014 - Having raised more than $400 million, Theranos is valued at more than $9 billion. Holmes is recognized by Forbes as a billionaire, thanks to her stake in the company.

February 2015 - An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association criticizes Theranos for failing to publish any of its research in peer-reviewed journals.

July 2015 - Theranos wins U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a test to detect the herpes simplex 1 virus.

October 2015 - The Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos uses its technology for only a small number of its tests, and that employees doubt their accuracy. The FDA subsequently releases a finding that the company used unapproved devices for tests.

January 2016 - The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a report that one of the company's facilities presents "jeopardy to patient health and safety." The agency said an inspection revealed that the facility did not meet its own quality-control standards, including not properly calibrating equipment.

June 2016 - Walgreens ends its relationship with Theranos.

October 2016 - Partner Fund Management, which invested nearly $100 million in Theranos, sues the company for securities fraud, claiming it lied about its technology to secure the investment. The case is later settled.

April 2017 - Theranos reaches a deal with CMS barring it from the blood-testing business for two years.

March 2018 - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges Theranos, Holmes and Balwani with securities fraud. Holmes is stripped of her stake in and control of the company.

June 2018 - Holmes and Balwani are indicted on criminal fraud charges. Both plead not guilty.

September 2018 - Theranos announces that it will dissolve.

March 2021 - Holmes reveals she is pregnant.

August 2021 - Holmes gives birth to her child. A court filing reveals that Holmes plans to argue she was under the control of Balwani, who she says was abusive, at the time of the charged crimes. Balwani denies the allegations in court filings.

September 2021 - Trial begins in San Jose, California.

November 2021 - Holmes takes the stand to testify in her own defense. She denies seeking to mislead investors and patients. She says Balwani was in charge of financial models provided to investors and that he was abusive in their relationship.

December 2021 - Jurors hear closing arguments from both sides.

Jan. 3, 2022 - Holmes was convicted on charges of defrauding three other investors, as well as conspiring to do so. She was acquitted on three counts of defrauding patients who paid for tests from Theranos, and a related conspiracy charge. The jury could not reach a decision on three counts related to individual investors. A sentencing date was not immediately set. She faces up to 80 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila but would likely get a much lower sentence.

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