Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to stand trial in 2020

Chloe Kent 1 July 2019 (Last Updated July 2nd, 2019 17:01)

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the now-defunct medtech start-up Theranos, is set to face trial in federal court in August 2020. Jury selection will begin on 28 July 2020.

Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to stand trial in 2020
Holmes and former Theranos president Ramesh Balwani were indicted by grand jury in June 2019. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the now-defunct medtech start-up Theranos, is set to face trial in federal court in August 2020. Jury selection will begin on 28 July 2020.

Holmes and former Theranos president Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani were indicted by grand jury in June 2019 and are facing a total of 11 criminal charges, including two charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The remaining nine charges relate to actual wire fraud, reaching costs of up to $100m.

Holmes contests that the work of Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou had an undue influence on federal regulators. The company came under scrutiny following the publication of many investigative pieces by Carreyrou, questioning the efficacy of Theranos’s technology.

Theranos’s technology – a blood testing system – was deemed a threat to patient health and the company was forced to shut down and liquidate in 2018.

In a statement published by Bloomberg, her attorneys wrote: “The jury should be aware that an outside actor, eager to break a story, and portray the story as a work of investigative journalism, was exerting influence on the regulatory process in a way that appears to have warped the agencies’ focus on the company and possibly biased the agencies’ findings against it. The agencies’ interactions with Carreyrou thus go to the heart of the government’s case.”

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 and raised more than $700m from private investors, allegedly by deceiving prospective investors about the company’s performance.

The company claimed to have developed a blood test that could diagnose a wide range of conditions using just a few drops of blood, which were collected in a device called a nanotainer and analysed in a machine dubbed the Edison.

It emerged that many of the tests Theranos claimed to have performed using its Edison machine were actually performed using traditional blood testing machines bought from rival companies, and that the Edison machines themselves were not especially accurate.

Carreyrou has since released a best-selling book, Bad Blood, on the company’s downfall, a Hollywood adaptation of which is reportedly in production.

Holmes has maintained her innocence throughout the ordeal.