Theranos, the Silicon Valley blood-testing startup that has collapsed in a slew of scandals, is reportedly laying off the majority of its remaining workforce.
The layoffs take Theranos’ headcount from about 125 to less than two dozen as the company mounts a last-ditch effort to delay or avoid bankruptcy, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.
The company had employed as many as 800 in late 2015, according to the paper.
The latest bloodbath comes a month after the SEC accused CEO Elizabeth Holmes and a top lieutenant of defrauding investors of more than $700 million through false claims about its technology.
Holmes — a Stanford dropout who dressed exclusively in black turtlenecks as she talked up her blood-testing unicorn, which at one point boasted a valuation north of $9 billion — settled with the regulators in March for $500,000 while neither admitting to nor denying the accusations.
Holmes additionally agreed to not be a director or officer of a public company for 10 years, and to forgo profiting from Theranos ownership until $750 million is returned to investors, according to the consent order with the SEC.
Theranos and 34-year-old Holmes ran “an elaborate, yearslong fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance,” according to the SEC.
The SEC claimed that Holmes misled investors about her technology, which Theranos said was able to test for diseases with only a pinprick, and more cheaply than what was commercially available, according to the SEC settlement.
In reality, the company didn’t have any reliable technology to test blood samples, and sent blood to third-party companies for testing, according to the complaint.
The latest round of layoffs mark a final humiliation for Holmes, the now-disgraced Silicon Valley star who at one point was the youngest self-made woman billionaire with $4.5 billion in net worth.