Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes denies misleading investors

Theranos founder and former chief executive Elizabeth Holmes arrives for her trial in San Jose, California, on Dec 7, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA (REUTERS) - Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes denied making misleading statements about the blood-testing startup during cross-examination on Tuesday (Dec 7), as her testimony in defence against fraud charges neared its end.

Former Theranos investors have testified at the trial that Holmes led them to believe the company's technology was being used by the US military in the field.

Under questioning from prosecutor Robert Leach, Holmes said she never made such statements to investors and that they would not have been true.

Holmes rose to fame in Silicon Valley for her ambitious play to reinvent diagnostic testing. But she has been on trial for three months in a San Jose, California, court, accused of exaggerating Theranos' technology to bilk patients and investors.

Once valued at US$9 billion, Theranos collapsed after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles, starting in 2015, that suggested its devices were flawed and inaccurate.

On the stand, Holmes has testified that she believed Theranos could have achieved its goal of a miniaturised device that would make blood testing cheaper and more accessible.

Holmes has explained some of her actions, such as attempts to quash a Wall Street Journal story on Theranos, saying they were aimed at protecting the company's trade secrets.

Leach has said he will question Holmes on that claim, which she also used to justify withholding Theranos' use of third-party blood testing machines from Walgreens.

The pharmacy chain had a partnership with Theranos to offer blood tests in some of its stores.

Holmes' attorney has said her defence case is expected to conclude this week.

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