Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
C’erano tutti gli elementi americani del successo.
Silicon Valley, un’azienda start-up ad altissimo valore tecnologico, un settore innovativo e ricercato quali gli esami del sangue su normali per prevenzione e su malati per seguire i processi patologici, una tecnica vantata come pietra miliare del progresso umano.
Ma soprattutto la fondatrice, Mrs Elizabeth Holmes era una liberal democratica, spalleggiata dal partito i cui autorevoli membri erano confluiti come co-finanziatori dell’iniziativa ed infine, cosa che in America non guasta, era una femmina in odore di lgbt, benefattrice degli omosessuali.
«Nowadays, there is no answer to the issue -Elizabeth Holmes is gay?-, so everything you’ve read on the internet is just rumors. Nevertheless, speculations over whether Elizabeth Holmes is gay or not are still present in certain corners of the tabloids and on various websites, once again without any solid foundation.
The coming out of Elizabeth Holmes would greatly benefit millions of homosexuals around the world who are still in the closet. Although Elizabeth Holmes has refused on numerous occasions to being homosexual, rumors are constantly found on-line.»
Mrs Elizabeth Holmes “benefit millions of homosexuals around the world“: sufficit negli Stati Uniti per raccogliere fondi a milioni e milioni di dollari. L’Fda dette approvazione e permesso alla produzione e commercializzazione più veloce della velocità della luce: quando una ditta lavora per il bene degli Lgbt è sicuramente scientificamente all’avanguardia ed altrettanto sicuramente ineccepibile nelle procedure produttive. Ci mancherebbe! Si è o non si è omofili?
Come si sarebbe mai potuto negarle il riconoscimento di “donna dell’anno“? Tutta la stampa ed i media erano per lei. Mrs Elisabeth Holmes era l’icona vivente di come le femmine possano e debbano dominare il mondo, di come l’innovazione scientifica e tecnologica sia la vera fonte di guadagno, in estrema sintesi, quanto i liberals democratici fossero ben superiori alla plebe addetta alla produzione.
A leggersi quegli articoli ci si sbellica dal ridere.
«Elizabeth Anne Holmes (born February 3, 1984) is an American entrepreneur and inventor. She is the founder and CEO of Theranos, a privately-held blood test company based in Palo Alto, California. In 2015, Forbes named Holmes as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world due to a $9 billion valuation of Theranos. The next year Forbes revised her net value “From $4.5 Billion to Nothing”. She was also named as TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2015. In 2016, after a series of journalistic and regulatory investigations that questioned the veracity of Theranos’ claims, federal prosecutors began criminal investigations for potentially misleading investors and the government about the company’s blood-testing technology. Following the revelation of potential fraud, Fortune named Holmes one of the “World’s Most Disappointing Leaders”. In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services banned Holmes from owning, operating, or directing a diagnostic lab for a period of two years …. Holmes studied Mandarin as a child and completed three years of summer language classes at Stanford University before graduating from high school … In 2001, Holmes applied to Stanford University and was named a President’s Scholar, which came with a stipend to use on a research project … In March 2004, she dropped out of Stanford’s School of Engineering and used her tuition money as seed funding for a consumer healthcare technology company.» [Fonte]
Questa è la ditta fondata da Mrs Elizabeth Holmes.
«Theranos is an American privately held health technology company based in Palo Alto, California. The company is known for its marketing of its efforts to create blood tests that used small sample volume technology. It was founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes at the age of 19. By 2014, Theranos had raised more than $400 million in funding with an estimated value of $9 billion.
In 2015, Theranos received negative news coverage due to concerns about the effectiveness of its technologies. In June 2016, the company’s net worth was estimated to be $800 million. In July 2016, Theranos received sanctions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) including the revocation of its CLIA certificate and prohibition of the owners and operators from owning or operating a lab for two years. Theranos announced that it would close its laboratory operations and wellness centers to work on miniature medical testing machines in October 2016.» [Fonte]
«The FDA received a formal inquiry to look at Theranos blood test devices by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2012 before the devices were commercially available and did not require FDA approval. FDA inspection reports from 2014 and 2015 stated that its containers for blood collection were “not validated under actual or simulated use conditions” and “were not reviewed and not approved by designated individual(s) prior to issuance”. After the inspection, Theranos announced that it would voluntarily suspend its tests apart from the FDA-approved herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) test.» [Fonte]
Adesso la Food and Drug Administration, pur essendo ricettacolo di ogni genere e tipologia di liberal democratici, non ha potuto fare a meno di ritirare licenza e permessi alla Theranos, che di conseguenza sta andando diritta al fallimento.
Ma allora dove mai potrebbe essere il problema?
I suoi finanziatori sono nella quasi totalità anche esse liberal democratici e non intendono per nulla perdere un centesimo del proprio capitale. Mrs Holmes non ci sta, e vorrebbe coinvolgere tutti nel fallimento, oppure obbligarli ad una nuova ricapitalizzazione.
È un teatrino tutto messo in scena in casa: nessuna paura, anche i giudici che stanno trattando il caso sono liberal democratici.
Questo è come si è ridotta l’America dopo anni di usbergo democratico: al fallimento.
→ The Wall Street Journal. 2017-02-16. Theranos Had $200 Million in Cash Left at Year-End
Blood-diagnostics company had no material revenue in 2015 and 2016, sources say
Theranos Inc., the embattled blood-diagnostics firm, is on the ropes.
The Silicon Valley company had $200 million of cash on hand at the end of 2016, people familiar with the matter said, less than a quarter of the funding it raised from investors and partners.
The number was disclosed in a conference call with investors last month. Investors also were told the firm didn’t generate any material revenue in 2015 and 2016 and…
[Testo riportato parzialmente causa il copyright]
→ The Wall Street Journal. 2017-04-05. Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Owes About $25 Million to Blood-Testing Startup
Debt is disclosed as Theranos looks to trade founder’s shares with investors in exchange for pledge not to sue.
Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes, whose once-$5 billion stake in her blood-testing firm has shriveled amid regulatory and legal challenges, also owes her company about $25 million, people familiar with the matter said.
The disclosure of the debt was included in a deal document Theranos circulated to a select group of current investors with…»
[Testo riportato parzialmente causa il copyright]
→ Reuters. 2017-04-17. Are Theranos investors collaborators or victims?
An exchange offer from the embattled biotech company Theranos to 40 of its biggest investors is such a peculiar creature that Vice-Chancellor Travis Laster of Delaware Chancery Court wants to do some poking and prodding before it’s too late.
Last week, the vice-chancellor temporarily enjoined the scheduled April 14 closing of Theranos’ tender offer, which, in broad terms, would have allowed certain preferred shareholders in the privately held company to exchange their shares for new equity with some enhanced rights – but would require those shareholders to release litigation claims against Theranos and its directors and officers. According to a transcript of the TRO hearing Vice-Chancellor Laster held on April 11, the judge wants Theranos to explain how the share exchange would re-allocate whatever value remains in the battered company, as well as why Theranos allegedly made its offer to investors in a self-destructing, Mission Impossible-type presentation the vice-chancellor christened “investor Snapchat.”
The vice-chancellor’s big concern is that the Theranos offer may contain provisions that effectively force investors to abandon their fraud claims. “I have something that sets up like a controller tender offer with disclosure problems with some type of coercion involved,” the Delaware judge said. “And so it’s the type of thing that I do think needs, at a minimum, better explanation on both sides.”
The Theranos investors who have sued in Delaware aren’t the only ones who’ve raised that concern. Lead plaintiffs in a class action against Theranos in federal court in San Jose – two investors with a stake in funds that held Theranos shares – also alleged this month that the company was using the exchange offer to undermine their fraud case. Unlike Vice-Chancellor Laster, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins of San Jose refused to block the offer, concluding that it “was not coercive or confusing or misleading in any way.”
The two cases offer seemingly irreconcilable depictions of Theranos investors. In Delaware – where, to be fair, the record is quite undeveloped – they’re the targets of a scheme to deprive them of claims against corporate insiders who have lied to them about the company practically from its inception. In California, they’re sophisticated risk-takers who have negotiated a deal to maximize any potential returns on their Theranos bets.
Theranos’ tender offer is, as far as I can tell, the first time a company has ever proposed a swap of additional equity rights for a release of investors’ litigation claims. It could be a brilliant way for the company to buy time and save itself the cost of defending fraud litigation – but not if the deal is being crammed down investors’ throats improperly.
So let’s take a look at the two portrayals of the offer. A cautionary note: Many of the specifics of Theranos’ offer to investors remain secret. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which represents the investors suing the company in Delaware, redacted the complaint and TRO brief so thoroughly that the filings reveal just about nothing about the substance of the tender offer. The California class action plaintiffs based their request for discovery on a Wall Street Journal scoop about the Theranos plan, so their filing doesn’t fill in the blanks either.
But Theranos disclosed considerable background in its opposition brief in the California case and an accompanying declaration from Theranos General Counsel David Taylor. Additional details came out during the hearings before Judge Cousins in California and Vice-Chancellor Laster in Delaware.
Theranos lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, Cooley and Richards Layton & Finger describe the tender offer as the product of months of collaboration between the company and its biggest investors. According to them, it was Theranos investors represented by Cravath Swaine & Moore who originated the whole idea of releasing potential litigation claims in exchange for additional equity rights. And those shareholders first broached the exchange concept, Theranos said, back in August 2016 – months before either the California or Delaware fraud cases began. The specifics of the tender offer came together, according to Theranos, in hundreds of communications between the company and these highly knowledgeable, well-informed and well-represented investors.
“Our shareholders brought this deal to us – it wasn’t our idea,” Theranos lawyer Timothy Perla said at the TRO hearing in California. “If you just look at the timing of this deal, it can’t be we did this as a coercive tactic against this case because the case didn’t exist when the deal was first discussed.”
The firms representing investors in the California class action – Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd – premised their initial demand to see tender offer documents on allegations that Theranos was improperly contacting class members. Much of the hours-long hearing before Judge Cousins was consumed with class action issues rather than the substance of the tender offer. But the magistrate seemed to be persuaded by Theranos’ arguments about the timing of its negotiations with shareholders and the sophistication of its investors.
The California plaintiffs could only hypothesize about coercion in the tender offer because, as indirect investors, they did not have access to the offering documents until the TRO hearing. In the Delaware case, Gibson Dunn’s clients, direct Theranos investors, actually received the tender offer. That gave Gibson Dunn a chance to tell Vice-Chancellor Laster about restrictions on viewing the tender offer, which, the firm said, could not be printed or emailed and could only be accessed within a short window of time, after which “it would evaporate.”
More importantly, Gibson Dunn was able to argue that a particular provision of the tender offer was meant to force its clients to take the exchange and drop their lawsuit. The so-called liquidity preference provision mandates that shareholders who participate in the tender offer will jump ahead of other equity holders if Theranos enters bankruptcy.
That “most problematic provision,” Gibson partner Reed Brodsky told Vice-Chancellor Laster, gives its client a Hobson’s choice: “either accepting the tender and being precluded from carrying on with the case or proceeding with the case to trial with the knowledge that this liquidity preference provision will prevent our clients (from) executing any judgment because they will declare bankruptcy and it will drop us – drop our client from a preferred status down to 25th in line.” Brodsky said Theranos lawyers more or less threatened his clients that they’d get nothing if they insisted on pursuing litigation that drove the company into bankruptcy.
Laster pointed out that judgment creditors typically line up in front of all shareholders in bankruptcy, but said he needed to hear from both sides on the impact of the bankruptcy provision. The Gibson “theory of coercion,” he said, “because of the waiver that’s involved, makes sense to me.”
Theranos had no opportunity to respond on paper before Vice-Chancellor Laster issued the temporary restraining order to block the close of its tender offer. During the TRO hearing, Theranos lawyer Perla said the liquidity preference was a red herring. “Plaintiffs are saying this company is worthless,” Perla said. If they are right, then they are doomed with the transaction or without. Either way, there’s not going to be enough money for a litigation judgment.”
Vice-Chancellor Laster has scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for the week of May 8.
→ Vanityfair. 2017-05-20. Investors Accuse Theranos of Forcing Their Hand
If Elizabeth Holmes is going down, will she take her investors with her?
he Theranos saga, now in the latter stages of its dramatic arc, is entering tragicomic territory as it stumbles toward some kind of denouement. When we last heard from Theranos, the once $9 billion start-up that promised to revolutionize the blood-testing industry, wunderkind founder Elizabeth Holmes was offering to sell off her own shares to investors if they promised not to sue her or the company for allegedly lying about its technology. Holmes herself was reportedly on the hook for $25 million in company stock she had bought upfront, though her stake is now practically worthless and her agreement allows Theranos to cancel her debt at any time. (Theranos has emphatically disputed characterizations of the company as headed toward an inevitable demise. In a recent statement announcing the decision to cut its workforce by 40 percent, Theranos defended the layoffs as necessary to “marshal its resources most efficiently and effectively” as it works to commercialize its miniLab testing platform.)
Theranos, which raised about $900 million from investors and corporate partners between 2004 and 2015, is no longer a biotech company so much as a conduit to transfer money from Silicon Valley venture capitalists to lawyers and their clients. The company is fighting a series of lawsuits, whose plaintiffs include limited partners in funds who have bought shares of Theranos; a hedge fund that invested in Theranos; and Walgreens, once the company’s largest retail partner. In total, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, the lawsuits seek a combined $240 million from Theranos, which exceeds the $150 million or so Theranos has left on hand.
On Monday, Theranos settled with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, paying $30,000 and agreeing not to operate any clinical labs for two years. On Tuesday, the company agreed to pay out more than $4 million to Arizona customers in another settlement, plus $200,000 in civil penalties and $25,000 in attorney fees.
Now, Theranos is allegedly making a desperate move to staunch the bleeding. According to Bloomberg, investors are accusing Theranos of threatening to declare bankruptcy if they don’t promise not to sue the company. The alleged offer, revealed in a court filing unsealed Tuesday in Delaware Chancery Court, presented a sort of suicide pact to Partner Investments L.P. and two other funds. Officials for Partner Investments say a Theranos lawyer suggested the company would seek Chapter 11 protection if the funds didn’t drop the suit and instead accept more equity in the company.
According to Bloomberg, the share offer would have made it impossible for the funds to get anything back as part of the filing (Partner Investments invested more than $96 million in Theranos), forcing the funds to accept a “coercive” deal:
«The unnamed Theranos attorney “sent the unmistakable message” that the company “will declare bankruptcy before plaintiffs can recover in the fraud action,” lawyers for the funds said in court filings.
In a newly unsealed letter, Theranos’s lawyers said Partners was mischaracterizing the exchange offer as a way to deprive the investors of their rights by forcing the fund to choose between pressing ahead with its lawsuit and risking no recovery in a bankruptcy or accepting the shares, which include “an enhanced preference in the event of liquidation.”»
Theranos disputes the claim, and says the offer was discussed prior to the lawsuits being filed. (Theranos did not immediately respond to a request for comment). A judge temporarily prevented the company from proceeding with the share-exchange plan, Bloomberg reports. A hearing is scheduled for later this summer to determine whether the preferred shares deal, which the funds say Theranos first offered in September 2016, can move forward.
→ Forbes. 2016-06-01. From $4.5 Billion To Nothing: Forbes Revises Estimated Net Worth Of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes
Last year, Elizabeth Holmes topped the FORBES list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Today, FORBES is lowering our estimate of her net worth to nothing. Theranos had no comment.
Our estimate of Holmes’ wealth is based entirely on her 50% stake in Theranos, the blood-testing company she founded in 2003 with plans of revolutionizing the diagnostic test market. Theranos shares are not traded on any stock market; private investors purchased stakes in 2014 at a price that implied a $9 billion valuation for the company.
Since then, Theranos has been hit with allegations that its tests are inaccurate and is being investigated by an alphabet soup of federal agencies. That, plus new information indicating Theranos’ annual revenues are less than $100 million, has led FORBES to come up with a new, lower estimate of Theranos’ value.
FORBES spoke to a dozen venture capitalists, analysts and industry experts and concluded that a more realistic value for Theranos is $800 million, rather than $9 billion. That gives the company credit for its intellectual property and the $724 million that it has raised, according to VC Experts, a venture capital research firm. It also represents a generous multiple of the company’s sales, which FORBES learned about from a person familiar with Theranos’ finances.
At such a low valuation, Holmes’ stake is essentially worth nothing. Theranos investors own preferred shares, which means they get paid back before Holmes, who owns common stock. According to VC Experts, investors in Theranos own a particular kind of preferred equity, called participating preferred shares, which take precedence to common stock in the event of a liquidation. FORBES is not aware of any plans to liquidate. If that were to happen, participating preferred investors would get their money back and more before Holmes gets a cent.
It is possible that at some point, Holmes may be able to raise money at a higher valuation than $800 million from her existing investors, but we are not betting on it.
Here are three reasons FORBES lowered our estimated value of the blood testing company:
Too much is unknown. Everything but the $9 billion valuation is secret. Theranos said it would replace traditional blood tests, in which a needle is used to extract blood into a vial, with machines that could do dozens of tests on a drop of blood taken from a finger. But it has presented no data proving its systems work.
Theranos has not delivered. Holmes has been promising to publish data for six months, but hadn’t submitted a single paper as of April. She initially presented the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a single test for herpes virus as proof that her technology worked, and that a startling 120 more approvals would follow. Instead, the FDA introduced restrictions that led Theranos to stop using its finger-stick tests, and no approvals have followed. Theranos has voided thousands of the finger stick tests, according to a May report from The Wall Street Journal.
Theranos’ target market may not exist. Outside experts are skeptical of the idea that Theranos could be worth nearly as much as incumbents like Laboratory Corp. of America (market capitalization: $13 billion) and Quest Diagnostics DGX -0.28% (market capitalization: $11 billion). Theranos, which charges less per test, would need to dramatically improve margins on its tests (which it has said it can do), as well as get many more people to take its blood tests.
“Trying to displace low-cost lab tests is just such a tough area,” says Robert Nelsen of ARCH Ventures, the top-ranked healthcare venture capitalist on the Forbes Midas List. Margins are low, and it is difficult for new technologies to become established. Robert Kocher, a healthcare-focused partner at venture capital firm Venrock, says if Theranos’ technology works, it will find more value selling its machines than trying to recreate LabCorp LH +0.77% and Quest’s infrastructure from scratch.
Holmes will be making a presentation on Theranos’ data at the annual meeting of the AACC, formerly the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, in August. Perhaps that will shed some light on what data Theranos has to support the use of its technology. In the meantime, given the difficulties at Theranos, Holmes falls off the list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women and off all of FORBES’ other wealth lists.
→ Forbes. 2016-06-01. Youngest self-made women 2016. [Laungh Gallery]
→ Entrepreneur. 2017-02-22. Theranos: The House of Cards That Elizabeth Holmes Built
Thirteen years, a thousand employees, $700 million of venture capital, 40 wellness centers. Six million blood tests. Zero revenue. This is how it happened.
Despite performing more than six million blood tests over the past couple of years, Theranos, the embattled Silicon Valley startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes, somehow managed to blow through nearly $700 million without generating any revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal.
I’ll pause and let that sink in for a moment.
How is that even possible? The company spent more than a decade developing what was supposed to be revolutionary technology that could run dozens of diagnostic tests from a few drops of blood at a fraction of the cost of traditional labs. At one point it had more than 1,000 employees burning $20 million a month.
When Theranos opened the first of 40 Walgreens Wellness Centers in 2013, it should have started generating revenue and been well on its way to breaking even some day, assuming the service was as cost-effective and scalable as it was made out to be. Even if the company charged just $10 a test, that’s $50 million right there.
But according to the Journal, the company told investors that there were no material sales for 2015 and 2016. None. Hard to believe. Thirteen years. 1,000 employees. $700 million of venture capital. Forty wellness centers. Two labs. Six million blood tests. Nothing to show for it?
It’s mindboggling what some people will do with other people’s money.
When I named Holmes to my Worst Entrepreneurs of 2015 and 2016 lists, I took a lot of flak from those who saw the Theranos situation as business as usual in the startup game: You win some, you lose some. No pain, no gain. The technology just didn’t pan out. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Fail fast, fail often.
Some even saw Holmes as a victim of the status quo, as she saw herself when the story first broke. “This is what happens when you work to change things,” she said on Mad Money with Jim Cramer, “First they think you’re crazy. Then they fight you. And then all of a sudden you change the world.”
Sometimes it happens that way. This is not one of those times. It’s important for all of you to understand that this is not how entrepreneurialism is supposed to work. In my view, Theranos was built from the ground up as a house of cards, not unlike the biggest frauds of the dot-com era: Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia.
Near as I can tell, Holmes had a brilliant idea and many of her people had real talent. That aside, the company was doomed from the start.
Theranos was doomed by a culture of secrecy that kept everyone in the dark about what was really going. It was doomed by Holmes’ hubris — the belief that she could do anything and would never need a backup plan. It was doomed by a desire to hear only what she wanted to hear. It was doomed by a PR machine that painted Holmes as the second coming of Steve Jobs.
The click-hungry media bought it, hook, line and sinker. Holmes somehow became an instant entrepreneurial icon before she’d ever accomplished a thing.
Investors should have known better. They were so enamored with Holmes, so swept up in the unicorn feeding frenzy of the private equity bubble, that they failed to conduct basic due diligence. They invested in Holmes’ vision, sight unseen. The technology was never validated by any third-party testing or peer reviewed journals.
In the meantime, the company was mismanaged by a delusional founder who should not have been running anything, let alone a company that sticks needles in people’s arms and provides data that doctors rely upon for critical medical diagnoses.
This is not how it’s supposed to work. Selling a bill of goods to investors, partners, federal regulators, the media, patients and the public is not business as usual. Getting sanctioned by federal regulators, being banned from the business, having to shutter labs and void two years-worth of blood testing, and being sued by Walgreens, investors and customers, is not how entrepreneurship is supposed to work.
This is what happens when people feel entitled to run the show without the experience or talent to be effective. This is what happens when people treat ventures so casually and callously that risk becomes immaterial. This is what happens when people are so taken with the fashion of the day that they’re blind to the realities of business.
Today, there are 186 venture-backed startups valued at $1 billion or more and countless companies valued above $100 million, according to CB Insights. Not too long ago, Theranos was near the top of that unicorn list with a valuation of $9 billion. We still have no idea if it’s a one-off or the beginning of a trend.
Remember the Theranos saga as a cautionary tale. Nothing about it is the way business should be. Nothing.