Theranos wounded but finger prick tests here to stay

Most people in the UK are blissfully unaware of a fascinating story unfolding across the pond that focuses on the rise and recent demi-fall of a company called Theranos. The founder has all the hallmarks of a female Steve Jobs.  They've raised $400m to-date.  They're rumoured to be valued at $9bn.  And they have a raft of names on the Board you'd have heard of.  Kissinger for example.

We, at thriva, get asked about Theranos a lot.  The reason?  We have something in common.  Both Theranos and thriva use 'finger prick' blood tests in order to achieve on their vision.  You could even argue we share an ambition: Democratising and improving access to the information tied up in your body.

Here's the thing.

Theranos and thriva?  We're totally different businesses for the following 2 reasons:

  1. thriva is NOT seeking to develop proprietary blood testing/phlebotomy capabilities.   Hat's off to Theranos who've spent that last 10 years doing this.  It's just not what thriva is doing.  At thriva, we have made the decision to partner with the leading pathology lab here in the UK whose tests, equipment and reliability standards have already been heavily scrutinised by the industry regulator and have passed with flying colours.
  2. To provide people with more convenient access to the information tied up in the blood, Theranos has set out to create hardware that they could deploy to physical location (think shopping malls and stores etc) so that people could drop in and get a test easily.  It's a good idea if they can make it work.  Whereas we, at thriva, want to be able to take a test without even needing to leave the house.  As such, we send our customers finger prick tests which can be used at home.  They're then posted back to our partner Lab who run the analysis before providing the raw data back to us so we can work our magic (including having a GP provide a bespoke report).

A recent article in the Economist examining the plight of Theranos summarised the situation beautifully:

'..even if Theranos is mortally wounded, finger-prick testing is too good an idea to die with it.'

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Hamish GriersonComment