Bad Blood

(Axel Boer) #1

would aim to expand their partnership nationwide.

It was unusual for Walgreens to move this quickly. Opportunities
the innovation team identified usually got waylaid in internal
committees and slowed down by the retailer’s giant bureaucracy. Dr. J
had managed to fast-track this one by going straight to Wade
Miquelon, Walgreens’s chief financial officer, and getting him behind
the project. Miquelon was due to fly in that evening and join them at
the next day’s session.

About half an hour into discussions centering on the pilot, Hunter
asked where the bathroom was. Elizabeth and Sunny visibly stiffened.
Security was paramount, they said, and anyone who left the
conference room would have to be escorted. Sunny accompanied
Hunter to the bathroom, waited for him outside the bathroom door,
and then walked him back to the conference room. It seemed to
Hunter unnecessary and strangely paranoid.

On his way back from the bathroom, he scanned the office for a
laboratory but didn’t see anything that looked like one. That’s because
it was downstairs, he was told. Hunter said he hoped to see it at some
point during the visit, to which Elizabeth responded, “Yes, if we have

Theranos had told Walgreens it had a commercially ready
laboratory and had provided it with a list of 192 different blood tests it
said its proprietary devices could handle. In reality, although there was
a lab downstairs, it was just an R&D lab where Gary Frenzel and his
team of biochemists conducted their research. Moreover, half of the
tests on the list couldn’t be performed as chemiluminescent
immunoassays, the testing technique the Edison system relied on.
They required different testing methods beyond the Edison’s scope.

The meeting resumed and stretched into the middle of the
afternoon, at which point Elizabeth suggested they grab an early
dinner in town. As they got up from their chairs, Hunter asked again
to see the lab. Elizabeth tapped Dr. J on the shoulder and motioned for
him to follow her outside the conference room. He returned moments
later and told Hunter it wasn’t going to happen. Elizabeth wasn’t
willing to show them the lab yet, he said. Instead, Sunny showed the

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