American businesswoman Elizabeth Anne Holmes is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. She is the founder and CEO of Theranos, a privately held blood test company that is presently under intense scrutiny. Holmes had 66 non-US patents and 18 US patents in her name. She is co-inventors of more than 100 patent applications.
Early Life and Education
Elizabeth Holmes was born in Washington, D.C. Early on she got inspired by her parents’ work in disaster relief to pursue science. When she was 9, she started a business of selling C++ compilers to Universities in China. In her childhood, she read the biography of Christian R. Holmes, her great-great-grandfather, who was an engineer, inventor, surgeon, and a World War I veteran. He was the head of the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine.
She graduated from St. John’s School in Houston and joined Stanford University to study chemical engineering. However, she started her company using her tuition money and left Stanford prior to getting her degree. She got inspired by her ancestor to take up medicine as her career, but soon she realized she had a fear of needles. Holmes inherited this fear from her mother and her grandmother, as they fainted at the sight of needles and blood. The fear of needles, further, proved to be one of her motivations to launch her diagnostics firm Theranos in 2003.
Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, her father, held “many executive positions in many countries” as part of government agencies.
Noel Anne, her mother, worked on Capitol Hill as a Congressional committee staffer, foreign-policy and defense aide. Charles Louis Fleischmann, her great-great-great-grandfather, founded the Fleischmann’s Yeast Company.
Siblings and Cousins
Christian Holmes V, her younger brother, is the product management director at Theranos, Silicon Valley Company.
At age 19, Holmes founded Theranos to make cheaper diagnostic tests that need just a few drops of blood with a pinprick from your finger. Since then the company has developed blood tests that can detect dozens of medical conditions, from cancer to high cholesterol, based on a drop or two of blood drawn from a finger prick. Theranos is trying to make its testing accessible to many hospital systems and is in progressive dialogue with the Cleveland Clinic. With plans to open thousands centers, it has already opened centers in 41 Walgreens pharmacies.
In 2014, Investors valued her company at $9 billion –on a par with Quest Diagnostics. Her company has been under federal criminal investigation since late 2015. According to FDA, her company was using illegal blood collection device. Theranos declared, until it gets approval, it was discontinuing the use of its nanotainer. Last year, Holmes claimed Theranos had verified its result publicly against other providers without any proof. Though, she agreed to release data to prove her company’s tests were accurate and reliable, no such data was released.
As Theranos is still under investigation, Forbes lowered estimate of Holmes’ net worth and Theranos’ valuation. Recently, CMS regulators were looking to ban Holmes for two years from operating or owning a blood lab.