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Theranos to close all clinical labs, lay off 340

Blood-testing company says it plans to shift its focus to miniLab, a portable blood-analyzing device.

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Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who has been banned from operating a laboratory for two years.

Lisa Lake, Getty Images

Embattled blood-testing firm Theranos plans to shut down all its clinical labs and Theranos Wellness Centers, closures that will result in 340 employees being laid off.

Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes made the announcement Wednesday in an open letter explaining that the company would shift its focus to its miniLab, a portable device for testing blood the company unveiled in August. The new focus was announced about two months after Holmes was banned from operating a laboratory for two years.

"We will return our undivided attention to our miniLab platform," Holmes wrote in her letter. "Our ultimate goal is to commercialize miniaturized, automated laboratories capable of small-volume sample testing, with an emphasis on vulnerable patient populations, including oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care."

Theranos was once a promising company that set out to innovate blood testing. Two years ago, it was valued at $9 billion. But it has faced increased scrutiny, along with civil and criminal investigations, since a Wall Street Journal report in October 2015 suggested Theranos' blood-testing devices were flawed. In July, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revoked the company's Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments certificate, an action that prohibits Holmes from operating a lab for two years.