Theranos swiped logos from Pfizer and another pharma giant for fake reports

Enlarge / Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos Inc., left, arrives at federal court in San Jose, California, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

As Theranos burned through cash, founder Elizabeth Holmes was apparently desperate to land a large investment from Walgreens—so desperate that she sent the drugstore’s executives two fake pharma reports, the jury in Holmes’ criminal trial learned yesterday.

A few weeks ago, the court heard how Holmes had sent Walgreens executives a report that featured a prominently placed Pfizer logo. But Pfizer hadn’t authorized its use. Yesterday, the court heard that Holmes did it once more, sending reports that prominently featured the logo of Schering-Plough, the large pharmaceutical company that was acquired by Merck in 2009.

Constance Cullen was director of Schering-Plough’s bioanalytical lab in 2009 when her company tasked her with helping to evaluate medical diagnostic tests being developed by Theranos. The pharma company was interested in working with Theranos to develop custom diagnostic tests, and it had acquired two of the startup’s proprietary devices to see whether they lived up to their promise. Cullen and other Schering-Plough scientists evaluated three different tests, for which Theranos charged them $279,000 for test materials.

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