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Theranos Advisor Says Embattled Company Has ‘Exciting Future Ahead’

July 20, 2016, 12:20 AM UTC
CA: Corporations In California
A logo sign outside of the headquarters of Theranos in Palo Alto, California on January 24, 2016. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***
Photograph by Kris Tripplaar — Sipa USA / AP

Blood testing company Theranos may be under federal investigation and its CEO banned from operating a lab for two years, but it still has at least one believer.

On Tuesday, Dr.William H. Foege, who is part of Theranos’ Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, published an op-ed on political news site outlining his reasons for joining and continuing to support the embattled company. Theranos announced its advisory board in April (check out the full board here), months after The Wall Street Journal started to publish reports that questioned the company’s technology.

“In my opinion, the very foundation of Theranos’ inventions—and its hundreds of patents—is incredible,” writes Foege. “The company’s intellectual property is clearly robust, and many potential partners still request meetings to learn more about the technologies,” he adds, despite pharmacy chain Walgreen’s recent decision to shut down the Theranos blood testing clinics in some of its stores.

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Foege says that his optimism and support for the company stems from his visit to Theranos’ headquarters and lab earlier this year. At the time, the company invited a group of scientists, who would eventually become its medical advisory board, to take a close look at its technology over the course of several visits.

“We met with Theranos scientists who demonstrated the company’s ability to accurately process small samples on a range of tests,” says Foege, adding that the group also took finger-stick blood tests using Theranos’ proprietary technology and received “reliable results.”

He adds: “Initially skeptical, that group of scientists came to realize the tremendous promise of Theranos’ technologies.”

Founded in 2003 by CEO Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos set out to develop technology that would make blood tests cheaper and reliable with just a few drops of blood, unlike the traditional venous blood draws. However, last October, the company’s technology came under fire after the Journal published a report saying its technology was unreliable. Since then, Theranos has been under regulatory scrutiny, its COO has resigned, and earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would revoke its operating license. Holmes will also be banned from operating a lab for two years.

Foege has previous served as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a medical advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for helping eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. And yet, despite all the attacks on Theranos, he remains convinced.

Perhaps the answers will become clearer in the near future. As Foege mentions in his op-ed, and a Theranos spokeswoman confirmed to Fortune, the company is planning to soon publish data in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Holmes is also still planning to present at the upcoming American Association for Clinical Chemistry conference on August 1.