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Fallen wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes is the face of the Theranos scandal. But the next act of Silicon Valley’s biggest blow-up rests on a mysterious tech entrepreneur with almost no digital footprint.

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani is a virtual ghost — despite serving nearly seven years in the No. 2 position at the blood-testing startup that turned out to be too good to be true. While the black-turtleneck-clad Holmes graced magazine covers and spoke before adoring crowds, Balwani, her former boyfriend, stayed in the shadows. He has almost no internet presence, and the only verifiable photo that STAT could find of him was a grainy image from his 1988 college yearbook.


Now, he’s at the center of a legal showdown that could tear open a new chapter in a scandal that has rocked the business world and captivated the public imagination. And it could set up a daytime-TV legal defense: My ex-girlfriend duped me.

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  • Walgreen’s sent their own expert to validate the technology; he sensed something was wrong, and attempted to alert the Board of Directors. They were so afraid Theranos would bold to CVS, they kept going. When it comes to medical fraud and malpractice, endangering people’s lives, Walgreens Officers are just as criminally liable as Elizabeth Holmes. By going live in their stores, without validating the technology, they endangered thousands of lives. In a sense, their agreeing to go live with the tests in some of their stores did the greatest harm, as it lent Theranos a false credibility and legitimacy.

  • Take Channing Roberston as an example (see Chapter 12). Ian Gibbons, a chemistry specialist working for Theranos. When he found that his own patent had been under Elizabeth’s name, he talked to his friend, Channing Roberston, but Channing forwarded the suspicious of Ian to Elizabeth. Tragically, Ian committed suicide. I was wondering that how did Holmes apply convincing strategies attract other people working for her with loyalty?

  • I chose to read the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup written by John Carreyrou, which presents comprehensive evidence of the fraud perpetrated by Theranos chief executive Elizabeth Holmes. However, I am very curious to find answers to the question which is not addressed in this book: How did a start-up rise its valuation to $9 billion in the network of so many powerful and wealthy people? The followings are my thoughts and findings:

  • There is another ghost no one is talking about, his name is Channing Robertson, Stanford Professor who dubbed E Holmes as the new Einstein, he was instrumental in getting the Hype, he still works at Theranos and behind the “science”, that convinced Cleveland Clinic on board

  • There is more to this story than the financial crimes alleged. Physicians made decisions about patient care, often critical ones involving, say, the use of Coumadin/Warfarin for anti-coagulation,based upon spurious results from Theranos. This is the story that is not being written but it is more important than ensuring the rights and safety of allegedly sophisticated investors duped by a Stanford dropout with the gift of gab.

    Leaving aside the illegalities that may be prosecuted, the immorality of those willing to put patients at risk, using technology they had to know was inferior and incompetent, is striking. Madoff brought people to financial ruin but many should have known it was too good to be true – the same for Theranos investors.

    But what about the patients who were not protected by the SEC and what about the FDA, who did a horrendous job in all of this?? That story needs to be written as well. Globe Spotlight – where are you? STAT, where have you have been on this story up until now?

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