Former Theranos lab director says he was under ‘tremendous pressure’ to show technology worked

Health, Fitness & Food

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — A former lab director at Theranos testified on Tuesday he quit the company for one simple reason: The blood-testing technology just didn’t work.

Adam Rosendorff, a key witness for the government, took the stand for the fifth day in the criminal fraud trial of ex-CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

“There was tremendous pressure at the company to show that this technology was successful,” Rosendorff said during redirect examination. “It came from the top and permeated through R&D.”

He testified about his struggles to get executives at Theranos, including Holmes, to address his concerns about the inaccuracy issues inside the lab.

“She wanted to rapidly expand the use of the Edison from the time of rollout through the rest of the time I was at the company,” Rosendorff said about Holmes. The Edison was one of the company’s blood-testing analysis machines.

Rosendorff testified he left the company in November 2014 feeling “very skeptical” of the Edison and the company.

“I felt that it was a question on my integrity as a physician not to remain there and to continue to bolster results I essentially didn’t have faith in,” Rosendorff said. “I came to understand that management was not sincere in diverting resources to solve issues.”

Holmes is facing 12 criminal fraud charges in connection with allegedly bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and misleading patients and doctors. She has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing. Once a Silicon Valley wunderkind, Holmes claimed her start-up Theranos could run hundreds of tests with just a finger-prick of blood.

Rosendorff, who left Theranos seven years ago, said preparing for and testifying at the trial has upended his life.

“The stress of meeting with the government, traveling to meet with the government from San Diego to the SEC in San Francisco,” Rosendorff said. “Essentially having this issue on my mind. Having to relive very unpleasant experiences while at Theranos, and the media attention.”

The re-direct followed an intense and lengthy four days of cross-examination by Lance Wade, a defense attorney for Holmes, who repeatedly tried to undermine Rosendorff’s earlier testimony.

In an attempt to challenge his honesty, Wade pointed to some discrepancies in Rosendorff’s deposition in a separate case compared to his testimony on the stand. Wade also questioned Rosendorff about sensitive emails he had forwarded from Theranos to his personal Gmail account when he quit.

“Two pages of detailed health information for maybe 100 patients,” Wade said. “That’s a HIPAA violation isn’t it?”

“I do not know,” Rosendorff replied.

Earlier, Rosendorff testified that he forwarded the company emails to himself in case of a federal investigation and because he was considering filing a whistleblower lawsuit.

“You were sending it so you can try to get money in that lawsuit,” Wade said.

“No not at all,” Rosendorff replied.

“You also stole trade secret information,” Wade said.

“I don’t recall,” Rosendorff said.

Rosendorff’s testimony is expected to wrap on Wednesday.

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