Former Blood-Testing Company Theranos Somehow Still Has 155 Employees To Fire

Image courtesy of Theranos

Remember Theranos, the blood-testing company that managed to be one of the most scandal-plagued startups of recent years? The company is back in the headlines, with the sad news that it’s managed to find 41% of staff it hadn’t yet laid off, and has targeted them for downsizing immediately.

Theranos claims to be “re-engineering operations.” As part of that euphemistic change, the company is apparently “re-engineering” 155 workers into unemployed persons.

Theranos came to national attention last year when it was forced to completely void two years’ worth of rest results, after it turned out their test didn’t so much actually, y’know, work. When that came to light, Walgreens — which partnered up with Theranos for testing in 2013 — immediately dumped the start-up as a planned national partner.

A month later, federal regulators imposed stiff sanctions on both the company and its founder/CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Among other things, Theranos lost the right to bill Medicare or Medicaid for services rendered and its certifications extremely limited — and Holmes has been banned for owning or running a lab for two years.

In the wake of all those scandals, last year Theranos somewhat predictably gave up on being a blood-testing company, a pivot that involved laying off 340 employees in three states. Restructuring the company to prevent it from being a lab meant that it could no longer support all of those jobs.

But it was, until this week anyway, still apparently supporting 375 employees, all working on building a blood-testing product called the miniLab. Of those, 220 are apparently remaining on staff for the time being, in order to help the company actually design, manufacture, and sell the miniLab.

In a solid contender for “understatement of the decade,” Theranos adds that this “restructuring” has followed “a period of significant change at the company that has included the building out of its executive team with substantial additional regulatory, compliance and operational expertise.” Because disregarding things like “regulation” and “actually working” didn’t work out so well the first time.