Can Theranos Make It Through 2017?

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Troubled drug test start-up Theranos announced it had “re-engineered” its operations, another way to say it cut 40% of its workers and would have 221 left. The company’s last capital raise was in March 2015, for $349 million. Nearly two years later, the balance sheet cash line has to have dwindled significantly, and legal fees may be the largest portion of the cash attrition.

Theranos barely has a business left. Management says it continues to work on a product called miniLab. However, after all the company’s trouble, what are the odds that any distributors or medical industry partners would take a partnership seriously? Zero.

Theranos has to overcome the shuttering of lab facilities, the ban of its founder Elizabeth Holmes from some of its most critical businesses and a torrent of suits, led by former supporter and investor Walgreens, which put in $50 million in September 2013.

Theranos has moved quickly into the column its venture capital investments keep for companies in which they will invest no more money, almost certainly. No other source of capital will put money into something so risky. The company’s woes are a nearly perfect storm of loss of faith in its products, loss of faith in management, soured partnerships, angry investors and lawsuits.

There is no reason for Theranos to be in business any longer. It lacks a single element of its business that will allow it to become a viable company, even if it does create a product. There will be no buyers, just as there are no investors.

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