Theranos President Leaves as Blood-Test Startup Adds 3 Directors

  • Former Amgen executive Bonanni, Foege, Kovacevich join board
  • Balwani retires after serving as chief operating officer

Theranos Inc.’s president is leaving the blood-testing startup as the company reconfigures its board, adding a former Amgen Inc. executive and two others as directors.

Sunny Balwani, who also was chief operating officer and a board member, will “support the transition process” as Palo Alto, California-based Theranos seeks to fill “multiple executive positions,” according to a company statement on Wednesday. 

“It’s part of this evolution, it’s been in the works into last year,” spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said in a phone interview about Balwani’s retirement.

At the same time, Theranos said it would add Fabrizio Bonanni, former executive vice president of operations at the biotechnology giant Amgen, to its board. Theranos will also transfer William Foege, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Richard Kovacevich, former chief executive officer of Wells Fargo & Co., from its advisory board of counselors to its board of directors, according to the statement.

Theranos is developing a technology that, according to the company, can run scores of diagnostic tests using only a few drops of blood. The startup has faced questions about whether the technology works after the Wall Street Journal cited former employees who said it didn’t perform as the company claimed. It has been subject to investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, and federal and state health regulators.

The company was previously criticized for lacking medical experts on its board, and CEO Elizabeth Holmes has since created a scientific advisory board with physicians from prominent hospitals and promised to share data on the workings of the company’s technology at a conference in August.

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