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© theranos Electronics Production | October 07, 2016

Theranos shuts down labs and wellness centers – 340 employees to go

Consumer health technology company, Theranos, is closing its labs and wellness centers – a decision that will affect about 340 employees.
In an open letter from CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, explains that the closure of the company’s clinical labs and Theranos Wellness Centers, will affect employees in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania – and it does sound like this is going to be a permanent closure.

“After many months spent assessing our strengths and addressing our weaknesses, we have moved to structure our company around the model best aligned with our core values and mission,” Elizabeth Holmes writes.

The company will go back to its “roots” – or as Holmes puts it “return our undivided attention” to its miniLab platform. “Our ultimate goal is to commercialize miniaturized, automated laboratories capable of small-volume sample testing, with an emphasis on vulnerable patient populations, including oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care.”

The miniLab is as put in a TechCruch article essentially a “lab on a chip” (though Theranos does not want the devices to be referred to as such). However, it is an apt description; the company itself describes it as a portable device designed to have the capability to process and analyze very small samples of blood. A huge diagnostics lab downsized to about a microwave. The device has still not been cleared or approved by the FDA – something that Holmes addressed in the letter.

“We have a new executive team leading our work toward obtaining FDA clearances, building commercial partnerships, and pursuing publications in scientific journals.”

The news of the closure of the labs and wellness centers – and the layoffs – follows a rocky period in the company’s history. TechCrunch elaborates in its article that over the past year there the company has been under fire for faulty test results and improperly trained workers. Theranos is now facing several lawsuits – was forces to close it’s lab in California and also lost its main partner, Walgreens.

Holmes ends the letter stating that: “We are fortunate to have supporters and investors who believe deeply in our mission of affordable, less invasive lab testing, and to have the runway to realize our vision.”

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