Medical experts, scientists step up to Theranos advisory board

Palo Alto, Calif.-based blood testing startup Theranos added eight new laboratory and medical experts to its Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, according to an announcement Thursday.

The company expanded its board after giving experts full exposure to the company's proprietary technologies, systems and data, during three scientific review sessions. The new appointments are a sign the company is trying to bounce back after a long string of negative reports over the past few months.

After a pair of investigative reports in The Wall Street Journal alleged the company overstated the capabilities of its proprietary finger-prick technology, the FDA made the company reduce the use of this technology for all but one herpes test. Though Theranos contends The Wall Street Journal reports were false and misleading, it lost a $350 million deal with Safeway, reduced its board by more than half and suspended use of its tests in Walgreens stores. Most recently, a CMS report released last week indicated its proprietary blood-testing devices frequently failed its own quality-control checks by significant margins.

The newly appointed board will work with Theranos leadership to advise intellectual property initiatives, research, inspection of clinical laboratories, implementation of best in class lab procedures and publication in scientific journals, as well as how to integrate the Theranos technology into routine clinical practice.

"We are honored and humbled to bring together, and have the support of, such a distinguished and respected group of laboratory and medical leaders," Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, said in a statement. "We could not be more proud to have the opportunity to work together with these incredible individuals as we work to build best in class systems across our labs and product development initiatives."

The new members of the board include:

  • Susan Evans, PhD, former president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry
  • William Foege, MD, epidemiologist and former director of the CDC
  • Ann Gronowski, PhD, professor, department of pathology and immunology and the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis)
  • David Helfet, MD, director of orthopedic trauma service, Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, professor of orthopedic surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine (New York City)
  • Larry Kricka, DPhil, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
  • Jack Ladenson, PhD, professor of clinical chemistry, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Andy Miller, MD, assistant attending physician in infectious diseases, Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, assistant professor of clinical medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Steven Spitalnik, MD, professor of pathology and cell biology, vice-chairman of laboratory medicine, Columbia University Medical Center (New York City)


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