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Walgreens demands $140m refund from busted bio biz Theranos

Bayonetting the wounded

Troubled bio-upstart Theranos is facing a lawsuit from the US drug store chain Walgreens as it seeks to recoup the $140m it invested in the firm.

Walgreens plowed cash in Theranos and set up blood testing centers in its stores that promised to diagnose a wide variety of ailments using a single drop of blood. After Theranos was forced to admit that its testing machinery didn't work as advertised Walgreens dropped the trial, and now wants its money back.

"We are disappointed that Walgreens filed this lawsuit. Over the years, Walgreens consistently failed to meet its commitments to Theranos," Theranos said in a statement.

"Through its mishandling of our partnership and now this lawsuit, Walgreens has caused Theranos and its investors significant harm. We will respond vigorously to Walgreens' unfounded allegations, and will seek to hold Walgreens responsible for the damage it has caused to Theranos and its investors."

The full details of the lawsuit are under seal in a Delaware court, apparently because the drug chain signed a non-disclosure agreement with Theranos. But it's clear that the testing firm, once the darling of the tech industry, is going to be facing yet another lawsuit to add to its woes.

Theranos has already laid off nearly half its staff, seen its CEO Elizabeth Holmes banned from running a medical testing firm for two years, and suffered an exodus of key staff. If Walgreens wins its lawsuit it's unclear what will be left of the company to settle the eventual bill. ®

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