Ex-Theranos manager tells of unrelenting pressure from Holmes

Joel Rosenblatt, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

Lance Wade, Holmes’s lawyer, raised repeated, increasingly urgent objections to the testimony and to jurors being shown Gangakhedkar’s resignation letter to Holmes, but the arguments only supercharged a courtroom already abuzz with the revelations. Wade had barely started his cross-examination of Gangakhedkar when trial was stopped as scheduled Friday afternoon. It resumes Tuesday.

Gangakhedkar doesn’t have a high profile like the previous witness, Erika Cheung, a junior lab worker at Theranos turned whistleblower whose accounts of defective blood-testing technology had already been publicized in books and a documentary about the downfall of Theranos.

But Gangakhedkar’s testimony connected concerns about internal practices at the company to public safety when she talked about the Walgreens launch — a move she said was so overly-ambitious and premature that it prompted her to leave Theranos after multiple one-on-one meetings with Holmes.

“I was not comfortable with the plans that they had in place so I made a decision to resign and not continue working there,” she said.

Gangakhedkar took particular exception to a decision she said was relayed by Holmes to use larger venous draws of blood from patients at Walgreens — directly at odds with the company’s much-heralded mission to run tests on a pinprick of blood in a tiny glass capsule marketed as a “nanotainer.”


The retreat to venous draws came as a surprise and was possibly fraudulent, she said.

“The use of venous draws, that information was not released to everyone,” Gangakhedkar said. “I felt it was not the right thing to do.”

Gangakhedkar began Friday by acknowledging for the jury a deal she had struck with government lawyers guaranteeing her immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. Her lawyer likely negotiated the agreement to shield her from any potential criminal liability, Melendres said. If she had criminal exposure she could have declined to be interviewed by prosecutors, he said.

“It’s a regular practice for prosecutors to immunize witnesses they believe are important to their case, and whose testimony they could not secure otherwise,” Melendres said.

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