Bulletins

Theranos' former lab director turns out to be a key whistleblower

Adam Rosendorff was John Carreyrou's most important source and has become the key witness for the prosecution.

Theranos logo outside office building

Theranos headquarters

Photo: Andrej Sokolow via Getty Images

The witness list at the Theranos trial is stuffed with high-powered names from Henry Kissinger and James Mattis to known whistleblowers Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz. But the most important witness to come out of the Elizabeth Holmes fraud case so far is a name most people didn't know: Adam Rosendorff.


The former lab director has turned into a key witness for the prosecution. He's spent the most days on the stand of any witness so far, including an aggressive four-day cross-examination from Elizabeth Holmes' attorney Lance Wade who the judge said was "grilling" Rosendorff. Holmes is facing 10 counts of wire fraud and 2 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with her leadership of the now-defunct medical diagnostics startup.

Rosendorff's testimony was pivotal to the U.S. prosecution because it repeatedly linked Holmes to the lab's problems and showed that she had direct knowledge of the problems the company was having with the tests. "I was very enthusiastic working at Theranos in the beginning. Over time, I came to realize that the company really valued PR and fundraising above patient care, and I became very disillusioned," Rosendorff said on the witness stand inside the San Jose courtroom on his first day of testimony.

The defense, in turn, tried to discredit Rosendorff and spent much of their multi-day rebuttal bickering with the former lab director. Wade was reportedly able to poke holes in some of Rosendorff's testimony after he couldn't recall certain details from tests conducted nearly eight years ago. The delay in the trial, due to COVID and Holmes' pregnancy, means that all of the witnesses are testifying to things that happened five years ago or more: Theranos ceased operations in 2018, three years after the first revelations of problems with its tests. The defense is trying to cast them as unreliable narrators about what happened.

On Tuesday, the defense also revealed that Rosendorff had briefly worked at another Silicon Valley lab, uBiome, whose founders are also now facing fraud charges. The defense finished its cross-examination on Tuesday.

While Rosendorff's name might have not been recognizable before the trial, it wasn't the first time he had spoken out about his concerns about the blood-testing startup. "Bad Blood" author John Carreyrou said on Twitter that Rosendorff's alias in his book was Alan Beam. "Adam was my first and most important source," Carreyrou tweeted. "Without him, I wouldn't have been able to break the Theranos story. Hats off to his courage and integrity. He's one of the real heroes of this story."

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