When I asked a few months ago why no members of the blood-testing startup's scientific and medical advisory board had made any statements in support of the company, Theranos said it wanted to get the investigation by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) behind it. The company's plan, at that time, was to next release information at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry on August 1.
On July 8, CMS announced that founder Elizabeth Holmes would be banned from the industry for two years, and that Theranos' license to operate a lab in California would be revoked.
With the verdict announced, on Tuesday The Hill published an opinion piece by Dr. William Foege, an epidemiologist who is a member of Theranos' scientific and medical advisory board. He's also the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in defeating smallpox in the 1970s.
In the piece, Foege writes:
"In my opinion, the very foundation of Theranos' inventions--and its hundreds of patents--is credible. The company's intellectual property is clearly robust, and many potential partners still request meetings to learn more about the technologies. ...
Based on my experience, I believe that Theranos can collect, transport and test small samples, including finger-stick, with clinical integrity...
I am committed to being a part of the company's path forward and helping to rebuild the public's trust."
Foege also writes that he and the other members of the board were given access to Theranos' data, technologies, and test results, and received "reliable" results when they took the finger-prick tests themselves.
Amid calls for Theranos to release more information about its testing in the form of peer-reviewed studies, Foege said the scientific and medical advisory board is helping the company prepare manuscripts for publication.
Support from the venture capital world.
Tim Draper, a founding partner at venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Theranos' first investor, didn't see any need to wait for the CMS to complete its investigation before offering his support. "I like Theranos. I'm behind that company 100 percent," he told Business Insider in May. "I think they're great and are doing a great thing."
When Draper made those comments, Theranos was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in addition to CMS. The following month, Draper told Bloomberg, "Nothing's gone wrong with Theranos... Consumers love it."
Draper suggested Theranos is being attacked the same way any startup that's doing something truly novel comes under fire. He likened the established lab testing companies' (that's Qwest and LabCorp) dislike of Theranos to the taxi companies' opposition to Uber.
He also suggested that sexism is at work.
"Theranos is different in that it's run by a woman," Draper told Business Insider. "Interestingly, the government went after 23andMe. I'm not certain what's going on over there, but if I were a woman, I'd be asking a lot of questions."
We're all asking a lot of questions.