Bad Blood
John Carreyrou
Contributed by Andrea Barraza
Chapter 2

In 2006, Elizabeth hired Edmond Ku to help her with the technical part of her prototype. He was disappointed when he first got in touch with the product because he found out that he had to start everything from scratch because nothing was actually working. Elizabeth repeated several times that the device should only use a drop of blood, making the prototyping process even harder. To make matters even worse, she also prohibited the engineering department to exchange information with the chemistry laboratory, which ultimately delayed conclusive results several times and created unnecessary information silos. Due to these contrivances, she created enough of a time window to complete negotiations with Pfizer to test the pilot device created by Theranos in Tennessee on a group of patients who were suffering from cancer. In 2007 during a trip in Nashville, Ed also had the occasion to meet Sunny, the so-called COO of the company, and who was also Elizabeth’s confidant. Meanwhile, Elizabeth created a second team of engineers to compete with the current one. The new team seemed more efficient and because of that Ed was fired. One day, the company announced an urgent meeting during which they announced that three former employers were getting sued for stealing intellectual property. No one in the company was allowed to get in touch with those people.


Elizabeth is described in this chapter as being addicted to work. She used to sleep for only four hours, electing to spend the rest of her time drinking coffee and working. She was also obsessed with trying to create a device which would use a small amount of blood because she was afraid of needles. Her obsessions went even further when she asked the engineering team to work non-stop. When they declined, she created a second team which seemed more efficient and as a response to this, she fired the head of the first team. Elizabeth is also seen as being obsessed with privacy as she monitored everyone's messages. Carreyrou further gives the impression that she frequently threatened lawsuits against those who showed any potential inclinations towards violating the imposed nondisclosure agreement.

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