Holmes Legal Team Attempts to Spread Blame to Former Theranos Lab Director

Elizabeth Holmes_Editorial_Krista Kennell

 Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes/Courtesy Krista Kennell, Getty Images 

Adam Rosendorf, a key government witness in the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, has come under fire from defense attorneys for his involvement with another failed biotech company that has been hit with fraud charges, uBiome. Attorneys for Holmes have speculated that the lab failures at Theranos are the fault of Rosendorf and not Holmes herself.

In the ongoing trial, Holmes’ attorney Lance Wade said the failures in the Theranos labs that led to the downfall of the company “are the result of incompetence of someone other than my client,” The Mercury News reported.

Rosendorf was a lab director at Theranos who has served as a key source for many media outlets. After he testified that he left Theranos “in disgust” in 2014, Rosendorf then took a position as a lab director for uBiome, a company that shuttered its doors after filing for bankruptcy in 2019 following a federal investigation that led to fraud indictments for the company’s co-founders.

During his multi-day testimony, Rosendorf said he resigned from Theranos because he was “appalled by failures” in the company’s blood-testing technology. He said those failures negatively impacted patients who received inaccurate reports. Many of those patients went on to make medical decisions regarding those inaccurate tests. Rosendorf argued that both Holmes and company president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, ignored his concerns about the test failures, Bloomberg reported.

Holmes, the founder of Theranos, and Balwani, have been charged with multiple counts of fraud.

During cross-examination of Rosendorf, Wade argued that Rosendorf was in charge of the Theranos lab when it failed to meet federal guidelines and caused the company to invalidate two years’ worth of data. Rosendorf left the company after that news broke, Wade said. During his arguments, Wade drew a line from Theranos’ failures to the failures of uBiome and also pointed to questions about lab deficiencies at Rosendorf’s current employer, PerkinElmer, The Mercury News said.

“He’s pointed the finger at many other people, including my client,” Wade argued, according to the report. “He appears to almost never have competently done his job. He was incompetent at Theranos, too, and that is the reason many of the failures happened. He’s the person who’s ultimately responsible in the laboratory.”

Wade further argued that Rosendorf is beholden to federal prosecutors due to the issues with the lab he runs at PerkinElmer, The Mercury News added.

The prosecution pushed back on Wade’s arguments, saying that Rosendorf’s work outside of Theranos is not related to the charges against Holmes. Federal prosecutor John Bostic said Rosendorf is not connected with the indictments against uBiome’s founders. That case is related to insurance billing as opposed to testing accuracy, Bostic said, according to Bloomberg. Bostic also pushed back on Wade’s claims that Rosendorf is biased in favor of the prosecution. He called the argument “completely speculative” and said there was no relationship between his testimony against Holmes and Theranos and the federal investigation of PerkinElmer, according to the report.

Rosendorf’s testimony followed that of Erika Cheung, a former Theranos lab worker who detailed how the company manipulated data in order to pass quality control during her days on the witness stand. She testified that Theranos employees would delete up to two of six data points in a test in order to achieve a desired result.

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