Blood-testing company Theranos is set to dissolve

Elizabeth Holmes faces the possibility of spending the rest of her life behind bars

It was briefly one of the most celebrated companies in Silicon Valley - but Theranos, a company valued at $9bn (£7bn) at its peak, will soon be no more.

The company will be liquidated over the next six to 12 months, and plans to dole out its estimated $5 million in remaining cash to its unsecured creditors, according to the email sent out by Theranos General Counsel and CEO David Taylor.

Theranos claimed that it could run a range of physiological tests from a few drops of blood, collected via its portable blood analyser, including testing for conditions including cancer and diabetes. Holmes stepped down from her position as CEO, and as Tuesday's announcement made clear, the company she founded will be no more. The confirmation that the company would be closing down wouldn't have been a surprise to investors as Theranos has lost millions of dollars since its authenticity was questioned in 2015.

But Theranos came under scrutiny after the Journal published articles questioning its claims.

The final nail in the coffin arrived on March 2018, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Holmes on account of a massive fraud. Both executives have denied the charges, according to the Journal. Investors and the media hyped Theranos as a breakthrough in the large blood-testing market, where the United States diagnostic-lab industry posts annual sales of over $70 billion. Former CEO Elizabeth Holmes' black turtleneck and lofty goals drew comparisons with Apple's Steve Jobs. The company is also in default of its loans under Fortress, which has the right to foreclose and take ownership of all of Theranos' assets under the terms of their agreement. It may take up to a year to have everything settled, but the company's employees worked for the last time on August 31.

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"I write with hard news about the future of the Company", the letter from CEO David Taylor began.

As part of the settlement, Ms Holmes had to return millions of shares to the privately held company and pay a $500,000 fine.

Balwani issued a statement through a representative: "As an investor who put millions of dollars of his own money and almost seven years of his life into Theranos, Mr. Balwani was saddened to see the letter from Theranos to investors [Tuesday]".

Neither Taylor nor representatives for Palo Alto, California-based Theranos immediately responded to Reuters' requests for comment.

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