Prosecutors offered jurors Thursday a fresh, undercurrent of frustration and bad blood as they opened their case against the now-disgraced founder of Theranos Inc.
Elizabeth Holmes, wearing a gray-and-black suit, her dark hair scraped back from her face, stood before jurors and spoke of a company that was originally started in a Stanford dorm room as a “drop-in center for technology.”
Ms. Holmes’s claim — that Theranos had a platform to develop and sell a new generation of blood tests that could revolutionize patient care — was the theme of her opening statement.
She was previously backed by dozens of prominent investors, including Bill Gates, Daniel Loeb and Sergey Brin of Google, and sold what was then the world’s first wearable blood test for detecting kidney disease to Walgreens in 2015. The company was valued at more than $9 billion.
“I wanted to make this happen,” she said, explaining why she had borrowed millions of dollars to operate the company. “It was the most thrilling thing I’d ever done.”
But she said the first major blow came soon after the company raised $400 million to buy its first lab in Northern California, funded largely by her family, and hired hundreds of people to sell its blood test products.
“Our vision was safe and dependable technologies,” she said. “They weren’t accessible.”
“It didn’t add up,” she added.
Ms. Holmes answered questions from the prosecutor, Andrew DeMuth, with a single word. “No,” Ms. Holmes said when the prosecutor asked her to describe how Theranos’s blood tests were flawed.
Her answer underscored the prosecution’s argument that the company’s success was based on a myriad of false claims about its devices and testing technology.
Over time, prosecutors said, Mr. Brin’s stake in the company sank from nearly $100 million to $400,000. His stake is worth just over $54 million, according to the District Court filing — about a third of what he paid for it.
In August, federal investigators raided Theranos’s Newark lab, located less than 1 mile from Stanford, and searched Ms. Holmes’s Palo Alto home, finding confidential information on Walgreens contracts, a California identity card and prescriptions for blood testing materials.
She was arrested in California later that month.