Elizabeth Holmes became famous about eight years ago as the founder and public face of Theranos, a start-up company that claimed to be about to revolutionize blood testing. But the machines (called “Edisons”) didn’t do what they were supposed to be able to do, the company turned out to be smoke-and-mirrors, and Holmes is on trial for allegedly defrauding both investors and patients.
Had the Edisons worked they would have been a great break-through. They were supposed to be able to develop vast amounts of data from just a few droplets of blood, the amount one can get by pricking the end of one’s finger. Further, the devices could be purchased and maintained by individuals in their own homes, so that the earliest stages of diagnosis would have been removed from doctors’ offices and relocated amongst the would-be patients themselves, a “democratization” of healthcare.
But none of it was real.
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The trial began on Tuesday, August 11, in the U.S. district court in San Jose, California. with jury selection. Judge Edward Davila is presiding and the jury has been chosen. Holmes has apparently been very involved in working with her lawyers to frame a defense.