“Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president,
but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process. “
John F. Kennedy
Palo Alto, California-based Theranos is expanding to Scottsdale, leasing a 20,000-square-foot wing at the newest SkySong building and hiring more than 500 people to staff the new operations.
Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Cos., the master developer of the SkySong project at Scottsdale and McDowell roads, said Theranos is exactly the kind of company the projects seeks.
“It’s exactly the kind of vision and the kind of employment and the kind of innovation that epitomizes SkySong,” Harper said.
Last fall, Theranos forged a deal with Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co. to set up wellness centers in Walgreens pharmacies nationwide, including in Arizona. Thus far there are 25 across Arizona, with plans for more here and nationwide.
The company’s proprietary technology allows blood tests to use a tiny drop of blood from a finger pinprick, offering a painless way for patients to get their blood tested, said Elizabeth Holmes, who founded the company in 2003. It’s also less expensive than traditional methods, opening the door to many patients who have mounting lab tests but are unable to pay for them, she said.
“It’s been an incredible experience so far, being able to serve people, whether it’s people who have Medicare or little kids or cancer patients, all of whom have such a tough time with laboratory testing traditionally,” Holmes said. “We’ve gotten the opportunity to help make their lives a little bit better by making the testing process less painful.”
She said interviewing already has begun for all types of positions, including phlebotomists and for the company’s operations team.
So far, the company has more than 500 employees, with the majority in California and about 100 in Arizona.
Holmes said she started the company to help people get tested when they need it, rather than when it’s too late.
“In our heath care system today, people don’t get tested early enough to find out that they are at risk of some of these conditions in time to do something about it,” she said. “I started this company to be able to provide access — and access means both affordable as well as timely diagnostic information — for everyone.”
Holmes was a 19-year-old undergraduate student at Stanford University studying chemical and electrical engineering when she dropped out of college to start the company.
While she will maintain the company’s headquarters in California, she said she is committed to building a significant presence in the metro Phoenix area.
“As Theranos expands nationally, it’s going to be an extremely important area for us,” she said.
Angela Gonzales covers health, biotech and education.
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