Elizabeth Holmes arrived at Stanford University in 2002 filled with ideas. She took one to Dr. Phyllis Gardner, a Stanford Medical School professor. Holmes wanted to build a patch that would scan the wearer for infections and release antibiotics. Gardner tried to explain to her why that might not work (The antibiotics Holmes wanted to use needed to be given at higher doses than a patch could deliver).

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, attends a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, U.S., September 29, 2015.
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

But Holmes was not deterred. Holmes went on to drop out of Stanford University in 2003 at the age of 19 to start Theranos, which was then called Real-Time Cures. She was inspired both by her grandfather's medical career, and her summer 2003 internship at the Genome Institute of Singapore.

elizabeth holmes
Theranos/Screenshot

Shaunak Roy, a PhD student Holmes was assisting in Professor Channing Robertson's lab, joined her at Theranos in May 2004 as its first employee. Robertson joined the company's board as an adviser.

stanford university campus
Shutterstock/MintImages

In order to raise initial funding, Holmes leveraged several family connections. The first two investors in Theranos were Tim Draper, the father of her childhood friend and former neighbor, and Victor Palmieri, one of her father's long-time friends. By the end of 2004, Holmes had raised nearly $6 million.

Tim Draper
Tim Draper defends Theranos on CNBC in 2018.
CNBC

The initial design for the Theranos device in 2005 was a cartridge-and-reader system that was dependent on microfluidics and biochemistry. This prototype was dubbed the Theranos 1.0, and the company had plans to license the technology out to pharmaceutical firms to help them catch side effects during drug trials.

lab
Jammy Photography / Shutterstock

In November 2006, Theranos Chief Financial Officer Henry Mosley was fired after questioning the reliability of its technology and the honesty of the company.

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Melia Robinson/Tech Insider

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In August 2007, Holmes used the premature Theranos 1.0 in a patient study with terminal cancer patients in Nashville, Tennessee. Theranos also said that it would sue three former employees for stealing intellectual property.

Cancer immunotherapy
Protein analysis tubes are seen in a lab at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Britain.
Reuters

Theranos developed a new prototype in September 2007, named the Edison. The device was a modification of a glue-dispensing robot from New Jersey company Fisnar. By then, Holmes had poached some of Apple's designers and put them in charge of architecting the overall look and feel of the Edison.

Bot & Dolly
YouTube/ Bot & Dolly

Sunny Balwani joined Theranos in September 2009. He had known Holmes since 2002. Balwani had a background in software engineering and business.

Sunny Balwani
Footage of Sunny Balwani presenting.
"60 Minutes"

Learn more about Sunny Balwani. 

By 2010, a startup boom had hit Silicon Valley. That year, Holmes and Balwani approached Walgreens with a business proposition to run health clinics. At the same time, Theranos was also pursuing a partnership with Safeway.

Walgreens pharmacy
A pharmacist stands in the background as a sign rests on a counter at a Walgreens pharmacy store in Austin, TX, U.S., March 26, 2018
Reuters/Mohammad Khursheed

The new partnerships meant that Holmes had to create a new device that could perform more than just one class of blood tests. The miniLab was created in 2011, and was nicknamed the 4s after the iPhone model.

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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes
Courtesy HBO

In early 2012, Theranos took over blood testing at a Safeway employee health clinic as a beta run. The chief medical officer of Safeway had concerns about discrepancies in the test results. Safeway's CEO brushed it off and retired the following year. Theranos also signed a deal with Walgreens in 2012 to launch its devices in-store but continuously missed deadlines.

Safeway
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Lieutenant Colonel David Shoemaker raised concerns about Theranos' regulatory strategy to the FDA in 2012 after Holmes approached him about deploying the device in the military. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) then did a surprise inspection, in which Balwani told regulators the device was still under development. After battling James Mattis, who was on the Theranos board, Shoemaker ultimately agreed to a more limited experiment.

US Army 2015
US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez

At Theranos, tension was mounting. Ian Gibbons, the chief scientist at Theranos, was growing uncomfortable with some of the issues the blood-testing technology had. In May 2013, Holmes scheduled a meeting with Gibbons, in which he expected Holmes would fire him. The night before, he attempted to take his own life. He died a week later.

Theranos headquarters hq
Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

In September 2013, Theranos launched its 4s model with a new website and an op-ed by Holmes in The Wall Street Journal, despite protests from several of the company's scientists saying that the technology wasn't ready.

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos thumbnail
Skye Gould/Tech Insider

Source: Wall Street Journal

Partner Fund purchased 5.6 million shares of Theranos at a price of $17 a share in February 2014. Theranos was valued at $9 billion and Elizabeth Holmes had a net worth of almost $5 billion.

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos
Larry Busacca/Getty

Theranos and Holmes started gaining media attention, gracing the cover of Fortune magazine in June 2014. In it, she made claims about her blood test like that the company offered more than 200 tests and was ramping up to more than 1,000. In deposition tapes reported by ABC News in January 2019, Holmes was asked if that claim was true. "Reading it now I don’t think it is," Holmes said.

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Drew Kelly / Fortune

Source: Fortune, ABC News

Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou got a tip about Theranos in early February 2015. On February 26, he contacted a former lab director at Theranos who told him about unethical and harmful practices there. At that time the company was operating at a limited capacity and had been generating false and unreliable results for patients. Theranos had also been thinking of conducting HIV tests before the former lab director talked Holmes and Balwani out of it.

John Carreyou
Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider 

 

While Carreyrou was investigating the company, business carried on as usual. In July 2015, Theranos got its first FDA approval. By this point, scientists were starting to raise some questions about the company's technology.

The headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland November 4, 2009. U.S.    REUTERS/Jason Reed
The headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland
Thomson Reuters

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

At Theranos's headquarters, however, the mood was jubilant. Upon getting the FDA approval, Theranos had a party complete with a bouncy house, beer pong, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.

Elizabeth Holmes HBO
HBO

Source: Business Insider, HBO

Carreyrou's first article dropped that October, revealing the company's struggles to develop its blood-testing technology. That day, Holmes was attending Harvard Medical School's board of fellows meeting as a new member. Holmes sat through the day of meetings and took a break to go on CNBC's "Mad Money" to dispute Carreyrou's reporting.

Elizabeth Holmes Mad Money
CNBC/YouTube

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Later in October, Holmes was scheduled to speak at a conference hosted by The Journal. Holmes went on stage to defend her company, which she kept up for several weeks on TV and at various conferences.

Elizabeth Holmes
Mike Blake/Reuters

By November, the partnership with Safeway had fallen through, and the Walgreens relationship was on thin ice.

Elizabeth Holmes Fortune
YouTube

Source: Business Insider

By early 2016, more regulators were finding problems with Theranos. In January, CMS, which regulate blood-testing labs, cited concerns that one of Theranos' labs posed a safety risk to patients. In April, the SEC started its investigation into the company.

blood
Blood samples wait to be processed at Biobank, the world's largest blood and urine sample freezer near Manchester, northern England, in this March 18, 2010 file picture.
Phil Noble/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

In May 2016, Theranos President Sunny Balwani left the company, leaving Holmes as the sole top executive.

Former Theranos COO Ramesh Balwani (L) leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court with his attorney on January 14, 2019 in San Jose, California.
Former Theranos COO Ramesh Balwani (L) leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court with his attorney on January 14, 2019 in San Jose, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

In June, Walgreens ended its partnership with Theranos and closed all of the Wellness Centers it had opened in Arizona and California.

a theranos lab
An example of the Wellness Centers.
Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Source: Business Insider

In July, CMS banned Holmes from the lab-testing industry for two years. Theranos later in 2017 settled with the regulatory body for $30,000. As part of the settlement, Theranos agreed not to own or operate a clinical lab until 2019.

elizabeth holmes theranos
CBS This Morning via YouTube / Screengrab

The following month, Theranos finally presented at a scientific conference, though the details about the company's technology were still lacking. Theranos appeared to be pivoting toward focusing on its new sample processor, the miniLab.

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Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry's annual conference in 2016.
YouTube

Source: Business Insider

The presentation over the summer foreshadowed Theranos' pivot just a few months later, in which the company shut down its clinical labs, laid off about 340 employees, and went to work solely on its miniLab technology.

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The miniLab, presented at the AACC conference in August 2016.
Lydia Ramsey

Source: Business Insider

Lawsuits then started piling up from all sides including Walgreens, investors and patients in Arizona. Those cases all ultimately got settled, with Theranos paying millions to refund patients who took its tests in Arizona.

theranos review
What the waiting area of a Theranos wellness center looked like.
Melia Robinson/Tech Insider

Source: Business Insider

Some of the big names on Theranos' board departed shortly after, including former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. The company also went through another round of layoffs.

Henry Kissinger
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

By the end of 2017, Theranos was in need of a cash infusion and made a deal with Fortress Investment Group for $100 million in secured debt financing to get it through 2018. The deal relied on Theranos hitting certain development milestones as it worked to get its Zika virus approved by the FDA.

Elizabeth Holmes
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the company's headquarters.
Courtesy HBO

Source: Business Insider

Then in March, the SEC charged Holmes, Balwani, and the company with "massive fraud," though Theranos and Holmes settled. As part of the resolution, Holmes paid a fine and cannot be a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Holmes attends the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach
Thomson Reuters

Source: Business Insider

Facing setbacks in its Zika test development in the spring of 2018, Theranos laid off the majority of its remaining employees and appealed to investors for more funding.

Elizabeth Holmes HBO
HBO

Source: Business Insider

In June 2018, Holmes and Balwani were charged with wire fraud by the Department of Justice. Holmes, ahead of the indictment, stepped down as CEO of Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes court appearance California
Former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes (L) leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on January 14, 2019 in San Jose, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

By the end of the summer, it appeared to be the end for the company itself. The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2018 that the company told its shareholders that it planned to formally shut down.

Theranos PaloAlto hq
Theranos

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton reported that in the final days of the company, Holmes got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto, who accompanied her to work but wasn't potty trained, making a mess of the company's offices and labs. Holmes, based in San Francisco, and Balwani await trial. Their next court appearance is slated for April 22.

husky dog sled howl
A Siberian husky, not Elizabeth Holmes' Balto.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty

Source: Vanity Fair

Soon, the saga will be portrayed in film and TV adaptations. Jennifer Lawrence is slated to play Holmes in a film directed by Adam McKay, while Kate McKinnon has signed on to play Holmes in a Hulu series.

kate mckinnon
Getty

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider