Despite having lost its biggest customer, being forced to invalidate thousands of test results, being placed under investigation by the US government for fraud, facing sanctions, having had a testing facility shut down, and having had its CEO's worth cut from $4.5bn to $0, "nothing's gone wrong with Theranos."
At least that's the claim of venture capitalist Tim Draper, who was interviewed at a conference in California late last week. The company, which claims to have invented a new technology that allows for a battery of tests to be run on a single drop of blood, is instead the target of a conspiracy.
"Theranos is being attacked by the powers that be in big pharma," Draper told Bloomberg at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
He also cited mysterious forces in "the world of medical insurance" and "the people in government who are going to be very much affected by a really cheap, really effective, wonderful solution."
Theranos is in the same ballpark as Uber, which was attacked by taxi drivers, and Bitcoin, attacked by the banks, Draper argued. Except of course, Uber and Bitcoin actually work, and Theranos has been forced to admit it doesn't use its patented Edison testing machines to do any testing because of their inaccuracy. And the battery of 200 tests it claims could be carried out on the Edison machines? Federal regulators approved it for just one.
That failure was exposed by The Wall Street Journal in an article last year. According to Draper, the reporter who wrote the story, John Carreyrou, is also acting in the interests of dark powers. "I hope eventually whoever is pulling the wires for the guy at The Wall Street Journal – I hope they finally cut his wires," he said.
In case you're wondering, Draper is not entirely objective. He was the first investor in Theranos – putting in $1m. And his daughter is apparently good friends with beleaguered CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Draper's $1m stake was worth several hundred times that just a few months ago. He still stands to make a significant fortune if Theranos manages to stay alive; less so if it collapses. ®