Theranos One Step Closer to Consumerizing Health
Los Angeles, CA April 8th 2015 – It has been nearly six months since we released our 1st edition Theranos Due Diligence report. Despite an active summer for Theranos, the company’s brief stint as the hottest startup in Silicon Valley has somewhat dissipated. Aggressive expansion of Theranos Wellness Centers within Walgreens has come to a complete standstill and Elizabeth Holmes, the visionary founder, has made limited public appearances since gracing the cover of Forbes in September.
Outside of select press releases over the past few months, including news of a strategic alliance with the Cleveland Clinic and plans to seek FDA approval for an early-detection Ebola test, Theranos seems to have retreated back into stealth mode. As we highlighted in our previous blog posts, the company faces numerous logistical, technical, and regulatory barriers. Perhaps we are now beginning to see the effects of these obstacles on Theranos’ expansion. As one Arizona internist told us, “There has been a lot of speculation as to the technical limitations of running lab tests on a single drop of blood. A number of my patients have recently received traditional venipuncture for their chemistry panels at local Theranos Wellness Centers. To my knowledge, they were not doing this previously. If this is any sign of issues surrounding the accuracy and reproducibility of these assays, especially with regards to electrolyte performance, this does not bode well.” While it is too early to identify the root cause of Theranos’ recent step away from the spotlight, new legislation in Arizona may provide the company with a much needed break.
Arizona House Bill 2645, signed into law earlier this week by Governor Doug Ducey, will allow Arizona residents to receive blood tests directly from licensed labs without a doctor’s order. While Arizona residents could order a limited number of tests under previous legislation, this new law would permit customers to access any test offered by a given CLIA lab. This is law could be pivotal for Theranos, which aims to enable patients to access their health information at the time it matters. As more progressive laws loosen old-fashioned restrictions around patient access to health data, the implications for a “consumer health company”, such as Theranos, are tremendous.
For more information on Theranos, read our full report here.