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Theranos may have lied about doing business with GSK and Pfizer

Theranos is one of the hottest and most-valuable startups in the world at the moment, but the company has been facing a lot of heat from the media this year over the validity of many of its claims, ranging from how well its technology works to which companies it’s doing business with. On top of the recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal, which suggested that the technology that Theranos uses doesn’t work like it should, both GSK and Pfizer have denied doing any serious business with the company, despite Theranos claiming that a portion of its income comes from them.

It has all the makings of a Silicon Valley success story: a young, charismatic founder who dropped out of Stanford to pursue a vision that was beautiful for its disruptive simplicity. Theranos, founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes when she was just 19, promised to transform the blood testing market. Needle-wielding nurses would be replaced by tiny finger-prick vials, cutting out the fear and hassle factor and allowing some patients to order up tests without seeing a doctor. Investors bought into the company’s claims that its proprietary testing machines can get quick, accurate results from a few drops of blood deposited in one of its “nanotainer” collection devices. It has raised $400m from some of California’s biggest names and was recently valued at $9bn. However, Theranos has been dogged by claims that its finger prick vials are flawed. After an investigation by the Wall Street Journal highlighted the issue, the company said last week that it had temporarily halted the use of its nanotainers for all but one of the 262 tests it offers. Now the Financial Times has learnt that the company has struggled with the accuracy of its technology and staffing issues at one of its labs.

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