Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani first met future Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in Beijing in 2002. Holmes was as soon as then 19 and attending Stanford University’s Mandarin program, which was as soon as held over the summer season earlier than the open of the college year. Balwani was as soon as 37.
As in The Dropout, Hulu’s unique sequence dramatizing the rise and tumble of Theranos, Holmes and Balwani straight grew to change into shut. They developed a friendship, which later modified into a romantic relationship and then a dysfunctional partnership with Balwani investing some $12-14 million into Holmes’ company earlier than leaving in 2016.
By then, Theranos was as soon as under investigation for fraud, having been exposed for touting a questionable technology—a machine that was as soon as supposed to revolutionize healthcare by providing test results with finest a fall of blood.
Balwani had change into the company’s president and COO, despite having runt experience in biochemistry. In a deposition, a Securities and Swap Commission (SEC) licensed skilled requested Holmes about Balwani’s hiring.
“Did he bear any qualifications in the lab checking out enterprise?” the licensed skilled requested.
“He did no longer,” Holmes answered.
“Or in pathology or one thing else treasure that?” the licensed skilled requested.
“No longer to my knowledge,” Holmes answered.
Alongside Holmes, Balwani was as soon as indicted on charges of defrauding investors in 2018. Theranos dissolved that same year.
Here’s how Holmes’ reputedly unqualified companion came to be one amongst the tip canines at Theranos.
Who Is Sunny Balwani?
Itsy-bitsy is believed or has been reported about Balwani’s pre-Theranos lifestyles. The Contemporary York Instances has reported that Balwani worked as gross sales supervisor for Microsoft. In 1999, he grew to change into president of the startup CommerceBid.com. The corporate was as soon as supplied within a year for $225 million. Even supposing it would later crumple, Balwani reportedly left with $40 million.
In step with reporting by The Wall Highway Journal’s John Carryrou, who first exposed Thernos’ fallacious claims to investors in a chain of articles, Balwani and Holmes’ relationship began as a friendship in the summertime of 2002. They met in Beijing earlier than Holmes’ freshman year in college. Divorce papers earlier that year repeat that Balwani was as soon as then no longer too lengthy previously separated.
By 2004, after Holmes had launched Theranos, Balwani had change into one thing of a confidant. He supplied a condominium in Paolo Alto, and in 2005 Holmes moved in with him. By 2009, Holmes had burned through most of the company’s early investor capital and principal a mortgage to attain the following stage of fundraising. Balwani says he gave her a $12-14 million mortgage. He then came on to Theranos to trot the company alongside Holmes. No one on the time—investors, board individuals, partners, workers—knew of their romantic relationship.
In step with Carryrou’s reporting in Depraved Blood, Balwani then began to take hang of on an instantaneous administration feature to the confusion and discomfort of many on the company; he’s described as one thing a paranoid bully.
By this time, Theranos was as soon as hoping to market straight to customers through retail partners, though their blood-checking out machine was as soon as mute no longer ready; it could well maybe well also no longer consistently or precisely give results for the change of tests it claimed to have the ability to working.
Even supposing Holmes’ protection on the present trial would sigh that Balwani was as soon as the one actively overseeing lab checking out and inflating the company’s financial devices, texts obtained by Carryrou repeat that each he and Holmes had been actively fervent with the company’s day-to-day operations.
Holmes also testified that Balwani abused her and forced her to bear intercourse with him sooner or later of the time the fraud charges took arrangement.
In 2015, the company came under scrutiny. Walgreens severed its partnership and filed a lawsuit against Theranos. In 2017, the company came under investigation by the SEC. And in 2018, each Holmes and Balwani had been indicted on charges of fraud.
The establish Is Sunny Balwani now?
Even supposing Holmes was as soon as no longer too lengthy previously convicted of fraud charges (and awaits sentencing later this year; she could maybe well also face up to 20 years), Balwani’s trial has no longer but started. It’s scheduled to open up on March 15 and to closing 13 weeks. (Balwani will face the the same charges and skill sentencing as Holmes.)
Admire Holmes, Balawani does now not seem like in jail looking ahead to the trial. His whereabouts now bear no longer been reported.
Josh St. Clair
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Males’s Health Journal.
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