Bad Blood

(Axel Boer) #1

and stock the shelves of the pharmacies he ran on air bases in New
York, Texas, and New Mexico. As familiar as he was with drugstores,
though, Hunter’s real expertise was with clinical laboratories. After
getting his MBA at the University of Florida, he had spent the first
eight years of his career working for Quest Diagnostics, the giant
provider of lab services. He had subsequently launched Colaborate,
which advised clients ranging from hospitals to private equity firms
about laboratory issues.

The first thing Hunter noticed as he shut the door of his rental car
and walked toward the entrance of Theranos’s office was a shiny black
Lamborghini parked right next to it. Looks like someone is trying to
impress us, he thought.

Elizabeth and Sunny greeted him and the rest of the Walgreens
team at the top of a flight of stairs and showed them to the glass
conference room between their offices. They were joined there by
Daniel Young, who had succeeded Seth Michelson as head of
Theranos’s biomath team. On the Walgreens side, in addition to
Hunter and Dr. J, three others had made the trip: a Belgian executive
named Renaat Van den Hooff, a financial executive named Dan Doyle,
and Jim Sundberg, who worked with Hunter at Colaborate.

Dr. J high-fived Sunny and Elizabeth, then sat down and kicked off
the meeting with the same line he always used when he introduced
himself: “Hi, I’m Dr. J and I used to play basketball.” Hunter had
already heard him use it a dozen times in the few weeks they’d worked
together and no longer thought it was funny, but for Dr. J it was a joke
that never seemed to grow old. It elicited a few awkward chuckles.

“I’m so excited that we’re doing this!” Dr. J then exclaimed. He was
referring to a pilot project the companies had agreed to. It would
involve placing Theranos’s readers in thirty to ninety Walgreens stores
no later than the middle of 2011. The stores’ customers would be able
to get their blood tested with just a prick of the finger and receive their
results in under an hour. A preliminary contract had already been
signed, under which Walgreens had committed to prepurchase up to
$50 million worth of Theranos cartridges and to loan the startup an
additional $25 million. If all went well with the pilot, the companies

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