Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos more than a decade ago with the goal of providing every individual with access to any blood test when and where they want it, without having to lose three or four vials of blood or obtain a doctor’s order. Proposed Arizona House Bill 2645 may just allow that to happen for the first time.
Theranos and Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes is a commanding, soft spoken woman who has a vision of every American being able to visit a lab for any blood test. Her testing model would allow a person to request a blood test without a doctor’s order and most tests would only require a single drop of blood. Her company, Theranos, has spent more than a decade developing test hardware and the accompanying software with those goals in mind.
One of the key pieces of hardware the company has developed is the ”nanotainer.” Nanotainers are vials that are small enough to contain a single drop of blood, yet can be accessed for testing later, so are key to Theranos’ success.
In the fall of 2013, Theranos moved beyond research and development to open Wellness Centers in 21 Walgreens stores in Palo Alto and Phoenix, Arizona. The Theranos vision is to open Wellness Centers in all 8,200 Walgreens stores with regional support hubs dispersed across the United States. Theranos has been mainly operating on a ”doctor’s order” only basis, marking time until the national laws are able to catch up to its vision.
Arizona Bill 2645
Analyst Eric Lakin of consulting firm DeciBio believes that Arizona has at last caught up with the Theranos vision. On his blog, Lakin says: ”Arizona House Bill 2645, signed into law earlier this week by Governor Doug Ducey, will allow Arizona residents to receive blood tests directly from licensed labs without a doctor’s order. While Arizona residents could order a limited number of tests under previous legislation, this new law would permit customers to access any test offered by (any of the nation’s 251,000 federally certified labs). This law could be pivotal for Theranos, which aims to enable patients to access their health information at the time it matters. As more progressive laws loosen old-fashioned restrictions around patient access to health data, the implications for a ‘consumer health company’ such as Theranos are tremendous.”
The Arizona legislation is just the latest leap forward for Holmes and Theranos. In 2013 the company announced that it was partnering with the Cleveland Clinic to introduce its nanotainer and other technology in Ohio. A short week after that announcement, Theranos board member George Schultz held a press conference to announce the company was making its way through the Food and Drug Administrations approval process for an early stage Ebola test.
The combination of successful moves forward since 2013 has allowed Theranos to raise more than $400 million in working capital. The company is currently valued at more than $9 billion and is poised to give individuals more control and knowledge of their medical testing and data.