Theranos, the blood-testing startup that has been roiled by a Wall Street Journal investigation into its business practices over the past year, said Wednesday evening that it would close its labs and Theranos Wellness Centers and lay off 340 workers.
Founder and Chief Executive Elizabeth Holmes said in a letter posted publicly that the company would focus exclusively on a new technology it showed off in August, a so-called MiniLab that allows for testing of blood on-site.
"Our ultimate goal is to commercialize miniaturized, automated laboratories capable of small-volume sample testing, with an emphasis on vulnerable patient populations, including oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care," Holmes wrote.
Theranos had 790 employees as of Aug. 1, according to the company, and the workers being let go are located in Arizona, California and Pennsylvania. Theranos had billed itself as a company able to do extensive screening with small amounts of blood, as opposed to the vials usually needed, but a WSJ investigation found that the company was not regularly using the machines it based that claim on and was instead testing blood in a similar fashion to other companies.
Theranos has raised $750 million in venture funding, reaching a valuation as high as $9 billion, according to the Journal. Since the controversy arose, however, Forbes has revised Holmes' estimated net worth from $4.5 billion to zero.
"We are fortunate to have supporters and investors who believe deeply in our mission of affordable, less invasive lab testing, and to have the runway to realize our vision," Holmes said in her letter.