SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov 23 (Reuters) - Theranos founder
Elizabeth Holmes denied lying to Walgreens about her company's
technology during her fraud trial on Tuesday, offering
rationales for withholding key details about operations and
Holmes took the stand for a third day to defend herself
against fraud accusations related to Theranos, a blood testing
startup that is now defunct. The company had touted technology
that could run diagnostic tests faster and more accurately than
traditional lab testing with a drop of blood from a finger
Jurors in San Jose, California, heard from a prosecutor at
the start of the trial that Holmes falsely promised miniaturized
blood analyzers to cement a partnership with Walgreens, but then
secretly used "the big, clunky third-party machines" to test
samples from patients who came into its stores.
On Tuesday, Holmes told jurors that she had been following
legal advice when she withheld Theranos' use of third-party
analyzers from Walgreens, as the modifications used to run small
samples were Theranos' trade secret.
"The big medical device companies like Siemens could easily
reproduce what we had done," she said.
Once valued at $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.
Holmes' decision to testify is risky as it exposes her to a
potentially tough cross-examination by prosecutors.
Throughout her testimony, Holmes, 37, has sought to show
that she believed Theranos' technology was capable of delivering
on her claims, showing jurors encouraging emails from Theranos'
scientists discussing the potential for a small machine to run
any kind of test, and progress on developing it.
Holmes on Tuesday also denied misrepresenting Theranos' work
with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc and
Schering-Plough by adding the companies' logos, which
prosecutors have called an attempt to pass off Theranos'
conclusions as theirs.
She admitted that she added the logos to the reports just
before sending them to pharmacy operator Walgreens,
which was discussing a partnership with Theranos in 2010, to
convey the drugmakers' involvement in promising studies using
"I wish I had done it differently," Holmes said.
Holmes also testified that she did not conceal the addition
from Pfizer, showing jurors an email where the report with the
logo was sent to individuals at Pfizer in 2014.
Over the two-month trial, jurors have heard testimony from
more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, including patients
and investors whom prosecutors say Holmes deceived.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty to nine wire fraud counts and
two conspiracy counts.
Holmes is scheduled to resume testifying on Monday.
(Reporting by Jody Godoy in San Jose, Calif.; Editing by
Matthew Lewis and Christopher Cushing)