Theranos to Lay Off 41% of Workforce, Company Says

  • Blood-testing startup is cutting 155 positions, leaving 220
  • Theranos is now focusing on a new product called the miniLab

Blood-testing startup Theranos Inc. will fire about 41 percent of its employees after months of regulatory setbacks, lawsuits and scrutiny, saying it is paring down to focus on a new product.

The Silicon Valley company will eliminate 155 positions, leaving 220 employees who will work on the new product, a tabletop blood testing product called the miniLab.

“These are always the most difficult decisions; however, this move allows Theranos to marshal its resources most efficiently and effectively,” the firm said in a statement on Friday.

It’s the second wave of layoffs for Theranos, which in October fired 340 workers and said it would close its clinical labs and consumer outlets. Theranos had signed a partnership to put its testing centers in Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. stores, mainly in Arizona. Now Walgreens is suing the startup.

Once lauded as a potentially revolutionary company in the medical testing industry, Theranos has been plagued by questions about the accuracy and viability of its technology. U.S. inspectors found failures so severe as to jeopardize patients’ health at Theranos’s lab in Newark, California, leading to sanctions including banning Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Holmes from running a clinical lab. Theranos is appealing the sanctions.

Since then, Theranos has said it’s reformed and is working to pursue publications in scientific journals and gain FDA clearance for the miniLab. The company has also reshaped its management team, retiring a group of counselors who were criticized as having little health-care experience and hiring executives and board members from the health industry.

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