[DIYbio] Re: "Theranos, CEO Holmes, and Former President Balwani Charged With Massive Fraud"

On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 4:53:56 AM UTC-7, Ryan Vitug-Gavieres wrote:
Now ReasonTV has made a Documentary on the Theranos scandal. Elizabeth Holmes is suspicious for one reason she is one of a few people who claimed to have started a biotech company without a college degree. As far as I Know most biotech startups leaders tended to have MD's, Pharmacy degrees or PhD in Biology plus MBA. I'm surprised that the medical boards or the FDA did not see that as a red flag.

Various levels of education can lead to starting a biotech company.   Microbreweries are essentially simple biotech companies and they are started by high school graduates.  Her education level by itself is not suspicious. The early journalism relied highly on the (likely exaggerated) stories of Holmes being heavily mentored & advised by Stanford's principal scientists.   (Question.. where are they now, what were they really doing then?) 

What is suspicious is claiming to have made revolutionary breakthroughs in biorelated nanotechnology without any prior research publications and without verification of findings by independent research teams.  It is highly suspicious for a company to claim successful, novel use of microfluidics when hundreds of researchers around the world have failed to make the technology work as desired after decades of work.  The Board of Directors instantly looked suspicious regarding credibility of the company- not a single research expert among them, and apparently based on how things turned out, it looks like these personalities are simply gullible bureaucrats.   (Note: the Board of Directors was staffed by high ranking military officers, yet the massive lie about the Theranos product beta test successes in the U.S. forces in the Middle East, was not questioned?)

What is suspicious is that no one insisted on basic, simple answers back in 2008.   This isn't like an Enron financial accounting fraud, it's healthcare, medicine, and nanotechnology.  The journalists hyped her story far beyond all prior hype.  Any journalist could have talked to any number of research teams in the field and uncovered the improbable nature of her claims.

What is suspicious is the sexist favoritism afforded to the CEO from the early days across business circles and journalism because she was female, blonde, attractive, and copying Steve Job's fashion style- meanwhile, not providing any scientific evidence.  This was touched on in the previously linked podcast which summarizes the book.  Objective journalists should know much better.  It does not take much hard research to discover that the claimed technology could not exist as claimed.  Yet everyone gave her the "free pass".  It is probably one of the most significant factors in this story of fraud.  Compare to the first team announcing the discovery of cold fusion- which was a surprising, if later proven false, breakthrough- the team were absolutely destroyed by criticism across all avenues (criticized so harshly, that research into that area of high energy physics is still taboo today).

Being barred from serving as an executive in a public company for only 10 years is light punishment considering the depth of the problem.  Ten years is a short amount of time, that's less time than it might take someone to get a BS through Ph D at Stanford. :-x  

On Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 1:45:49 PM UTC-6, Jonathan Cline wrote:
The vaporware and hyped promises of Theranos surprisingly did not get much attention on this group thruout the company's history.  There has been a lot of vaporware and fraudulent claims in synbio, which obviously goes against fundamental principles of science.

""Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty, be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years, return the remaining 18.9 million shares that she obtained during the fraud, and relinquish her voting control of Theranos""

## Jonathan Cline
## jcline@ieee.org
## Mobile: +1-805-617-0223


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