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She Aimed to Be the Next Steve Jobs. Far From It

Podcast, doc dig into the mess that was Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2019 9:45 AM CST
Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, speaks in San Francisco on Nov. 2, 2015.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(Newser) – Theranos is kaput, but details of the once bankable blood-testing company are still coming to light, including in a documentary and six-part podcast from ABC News and Nightline. The first episode of The Dropout podcast, released Wednesday, dives into founder Elizabeth Holmes, particularly her desire to emulate Steve Jobs while turning Theranos into the next Apple, per Rolling Stone. After dropping out of Stanford at 19, Holmes began wearing black turtlenecks and speaking in a lower octave, sources tell Rebecca Jarvis, who spent three years investigating the woman who was once the youngest self-made female billionaire, per a release. Holmes' company touted portable devices capable of conducting 200 tests on a drop or two of blood—a health care revolution—though that wasn't the reality. In fact, one woman tells ABC News that a faulty blood test made her fear her cancer had returned.

"It's probably the most interesting fraud case I've dealt with," a lawyer who sued Theranos on behalf of investors tells Jarvis. "They fooled patients, they fooled doctors." The wife of Theranos' former chief scientist, Ian Gibbons, even blames the company for his suicide, per TechCrunch. More revelations come from Holmes' never-before-aired deposition in front of the Securities and Exchange Commission, included in the podcast and a documentary of the same name (see a preview). "For the first time, you see Elizabeth having to answer questions about what the devices were really capable of," Jarvis tells TechCrunch, though "answer" is perhaps used lightly. Per Inside Edition, Holmes said "I don't know" a whopping 663 times over three days. She did, however, discuss her romantic relationship with Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, Jarvis says. He, like Holmes, is facing 20 years in prison on wire fraud charges. (Meanwhile, a film is in the works.)

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