Back in August, I wrote a provocative post on centralized lab disrupter, Theranos.  In it I raised questions about its board of directors, its secrecy, the very high valuation and most importantly, whether there was real innovation.  At the time, I didn’t get a lot of comments from our audience but I thought it did raise some important questions about how transparent one needs to be in the age of “silicon valley unicornitis”.

Fast forward to today and big breaking news on Theranos.

USA Today

Front page of WSJ

Fortune

and WIRED to name a few.

The WIRED article is likely the most insightful, taking aim at the Silicon Valley Hype Machine.

The Journal‘s claims, many of which Theranos has contested, are damning, portraying Theranos as an Oz-like company that looms large in public consciousness but turns out to have little going on behind the facade. At the same time, the story also exposes a deeper problem with the way Silicon Valley tries to spin hype into startup gold.

In a blog post on the Washington Post website, Canadian experts also weighed in.

“Their claims of superiority over current systems and practices are speculative, at best,” Eleftherios Diamandis, of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, wrote in a paper published in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. “An open discussion of the merits and shortcomings … should take place in the scientific literature and other public forums, so that the benefits and harms are better understood by the public.”

In our investments, we welcome the regulatory scrutiny of national agencies and cherish the approval of key opinion leaders and experts in their field.  It not only validates the technology, it ensures that we are developing technology that is of a real benefit to the world.

Is Theranos doing that?

 

UPDATE:

Another great post on the topic by Matthew Holt at the HealthCare Blog and as always check out Luke Timmerman’s new site.

Dion Madsen

Those that know me well, know that my favorite words are “Super”, “Great” and “Awesome”. The geek part of me is energized solving the complexity of biology and improving the delivery of care.  I learned patience, hard work and entrepreneurship growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan and teamwork in the rinks and ballfields of my hometown.  After working in Europe and then dealing with bare-knuckle politics in Saskatchewan, I migrated west to Alberta where I began to hang out with some crazy guys doing something called “the Internet” which led to me being the CFO of a publicly-traded company.  After selling the company, I crossed over to the VC side and during a meeting with a vaccine company I had the epiphany of “I can make money and help people at the same time? Awesome!” and I have been working for or financing healthcare companies ever since.

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