They still live in the shadow of Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos

Women at tech start-ups wrote to her thanking her for saying how they felt, Ms Esponnette said. Lola Priego, 30, the founder of Base, wh...


Women at tech start-ups wrote to her thanking her for saying how they felt, Ms Esponnette said.

Lola Priego, 30, the founder of Base, which offers home blood and saliva tests that are processed in traditional labs, hears a comparison of Theranos at least once a week, she said. Referrals come directly or indirectly from potential partners, advisers, investors, clients and journalists, she said.

She said she understood the need to be skeptical as new healthcare businesses should be critically scrutinized to avoid malpractice. Often the comparisons have come to a halt after people learned that Base is working with Quest Diagnostics, a multinational company, to analyze their tests.

“But the additional prejudices and skepticism are hard to overcome,” Ms. Priego said.

The biggest blow came from a science adviser that Ms Priego said she tried to recruit in 2019. The adviser took the meeting only to tell her that the introduction of technology into health care was doing a disservice to industry, as does Theranos. This made Ms Priego question whether she could hire the caliber of advisers she had hoped for.

“It was quite demoralizing,” she said. It has since recruited six advisers.

In July, Verge Genomics reached a three year partnership with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to work on drugs for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, Ms. Zhang said. The company also published an article about its methods in a scientific journal last year and hired a scientific director this year.

It was a relief to have something to show those who doubted, Ms. Zhang said.

“The most fragile part of the business is the first step, when you have to buy into the people, the vision and the idea,” she said. Reflecting on Ms Holmes and Theranos, she added, “This is where these types of associations can be really harmful and reduce the potential.

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Newsrust - US Top News: They still live in the shadow of Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos
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