Look Who Just Joined Embattled Theranos' Roster

Published: Dec 14, 2016

Look Who Just Joined Embattled Theranos' Roster December 13, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Embattled biotech Theranos continues to make moves in hopes of redeeming the company in the eyes of the public and its investors. Despite the scandals and controversies, Theranos has made more changes to its executive ranks, tapping leaders with extensive backgrounds in the biotech world.

Theranos hired John McChesney as its senior vice president of operations. McChesney joins Theranos after holding several leadership roles in companies like GenapSys, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific and Medtronic . McChesney has experience with medical device development.

With the November departure of David Boies as general counsel for Theranos, the company promoted David Taylor to that role. Taylor joined Theranos as senior litigation counsel in May and has served as general counsel since Boies’ departure. Boies and Theranos parted ways after disagreeing about strategies to handle ongoing government investigations.

The company also tapped a new communications executive, Tali Mackay, who brings experience from companies like Genentech and Baxter .

Lastly, Theranos appointed Gregory Tsongalis to the company’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Tsongalis’ area of expertise is in clinical molecular diagnostic applications and technology development. Theranos said he conducts research in the “pathogenesis of human cancers, personalized medicine and disruptive technologies.”

Earlier this month, Silicon Valley executive Daniel Warmenhoven, former CEO and executive chairman of NetApp, took a seat on Theranos’ board of directors following the departure of Riley Bechte. This week, Warmenhoven told the San Jose Mercury News that Theranos has technology that has the potential to benefit humanity. He acknowledged the company has some problems and believes he has the experience to help going forward.

“I’ve seen challenging circumstances before… This one needs a lot of help,” Warmenhoven told the Mercury News.

A change in leadership to lead the company out of its quagmire and prove its technology works is something that Theranos needs. Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos, said one of her “primary areas of focus” has been the establishment of a new leadership team. The new leadership team at Theranos faces an uphill battle to restore the company’s name following more than a year of negative press and multiple lawsuits filed against the company. The team will also be responsible successfully leading the company’s decision to pivot the focus of its business from blood testing to the development of a portable lab dubbed Edison, which is expected to be able to run a multitude of tests using miniaturized laboratory robotics.

The company is also facing multiple lawsuits, including a $140 million lawsuit filed by former partner Walgreens and a lawsuit filed by a Bay Area hedge fund that alleged the biotech company duped investors about the efficacy of its products in order to attract investments of nearly $100 million. Theranos is also the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice with investigations centering on whether or not Theranos and its executives misled investors as to the efficacy of its blood-testing products.

Earlier this month, Holmes shook up the company’s advisory team by disbanding its board of counselors. Holmes said that move was part of an ongoing evolution and consolidation of the embattled company’s “corporate advisory framework.”

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