From protégée to whistleblower: A former Theranos scientist says Elizabeth Holmes should ‘come forward and apologize’

In an interview with STAT, former Theranos scientist Erika Cheung reflected on why Elizabeth Holmes should spend at least five years in prison.
Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz Source: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for New York Magazine

She joined Theranos fresh out of the University of California, Berkeley, a self-described “starry-eyed’’ 22-year-old chemist and biologist who saw Elizabeth Holmes as a role model: the CEO who would revolutionize the blood testing industry.

Seven months later, Erika Cheung quit her job as a lab associate at the company and became a disillusioned whistleblower, her life now enveloped by one of the biggest business scandals in American history. She was among those who had made clear to federal regulators that she viewed Holmes as a liar who had put patients at risk. (Holmes, and her company’s former president, Ramesh Balwani, have been indicted on charges of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars as well as deceiving hundreds of patients and doctors.)

In an interview with STAT, Cheung reflected on how she was duped by Holmes, why she believes the disgraced CEO should spend at least five years in prison and how the rifts between her fellow whistleblower Tyler Shultz, and his famous grandfather, George Shultz, went on longer than people know.

Shultz and Cheung, both close friends, have turned their attention since they left Theranos to creating an organization called Ethics in Entrepreneurship in

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