Elizabeth Holmes announces brutal layoffs at Theranos following SEC settlement

Theranos CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes. (credit: NBC Today)

As recently as 2015, the plucky blood-testing company Theranos had about 800 employees. But on Tuesday, that number fell to about two dozen or less, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley biotech company, announced the third, brutal round of layoffs today in an all-hands meeting at the company's Newark, California office. The carnage claimed at least 80 percent of the company’s approximately 125-employee workforce that had remained until now.

According to people familiar with the matter, the move is intended to save desperately needed cash and avert—or at least delay—bankruptcy. Though the company was once valued at $9 billion, it has seen its value plummet and funds dwindle after revelations that its highly touted blood-testing technology was faulty and company leaders misled partners, regulators, customers, and investors.

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