Theranos seems to have undergone one hell of a pivot. The company's CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, today presented a new product called "MiniLAB," which appears to be a technology that takes equipment used in a standard lab and puts it in a single box. Holmes calls it "a framework for testing in a decentralized setting while maintaining centralized oversight." In other words, it doesn't require sending a blood test out to a central facility and back.
The company declined to address concerns over the reliability and accuracy of its previous technology, Edison, after it was forced to void two years of tests following federal investigations.
Even at this early stage, scientists are far from convinced by the innovative potential of the MiniLAB. As Kaveh Milaninia, a specialist in biochemical diagnostic devices, puts it: "They're not doing anything new here, just integrating a bunch of technologies that already exist." Moreover, Milaninia argues that there are "very few tests" that doctors need to perform in the office, and that the costs tend to be high for point-of-care tests versus tests sent to a central lab, where economies of scale are at work. Is this a solution without a problem?
@chrissyfarr It's not some transformative new assay(s), just betting the farm on direct-consumer testing. Maybe a nice box, but a bad bet.— Ian Quigley (@mucociliary) August 1, 2016