While Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes stands trial for fraud, several companies—Genalyte, Grail, Truvian, Sight Diagnostics, Karius—are demonstrating and even pushing the untapped possibilities of blood as a diagnostic tool.
It wasn’t just the investors and business partners of Theranos who were hurt by the health-tech firm’s remarkable downfall. After it emerged that the blood-testing machine the company had developed never functioned properly, an entire generation of like-minded blood-tech startups found themselves cast in Theranos’s ignominious shadow and blackballed by investors.
It’s now three years since federal authorities brought the hammer down on Theranos, spurring the company into insolvency. Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is standing trial in federal court for fraud, while her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani will do the same in January.
But while Theranos is still in the spotlight, it appears that biotech startups developing advancements in blood testing and analytics are finally overcoming the stigma they felt after its demise. As of early September, blood-testing startups had raised more than $200 million in funding in the previous 12 months, according to the Financial Times. That windfall came amid a bumper year for the broader realm of equipment diagnostics, where companies had raised around $6.1 billion at the end of August, according to PitchBook data cited by the FT—eclipsing their 2020 haul and nearly tripling what they had raised in 2019.
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