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Cleveland Clinic taps Theranos, bets on cheaper diagnostics

Theranos technology can take a drop of blood from the finger and screen for a spectrum of conditions and diseases at half the price of Medicare.

Photo of Cleveland Clinic from <a href="">Wikipedia</a>.Photo of Cleveland Clinic from Wikipedia.

The Cleveland Clinic on Monday said it has partnered with Theranos to use the startup’s diagnostic technology that can take a drop of blood from the finger and screen for a spectrum of conditions and diseases at half the price of Medicare.

Under the deal, the Cleveland Clinic’s Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute will collaborate with Palo Alto-based Theranos to develop “advanced clinical diagnostic services” and implement Theranos’ laboratory services across the health system.

[Also: What you need to know about Theranos]

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“This relationship could open up new opportunities for both patients and physicians to be part of high-quality, low-cost healthcare,” said Cleveland Clinic president and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, in a statement. “Healthcare innovation is essential to making care more accessible, affordable and timely for patients.”

Founded in 2004 by then-Stanford undergrad Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos has created a technology that could revolutionize direct-to-consumer medical testing as well as hospital pathology and the $50 billion laboratory market dominated by Quest and LabCorp. Theranos is currently selling direct-to-consumer tests at branded Wellness Centers in select Arizona and Northern California Walgreens stores -- with prices like $2.99 for cholesterol screening and $6.67 for a hemoglobin A1c test.

Theranos is already valued at $9 billion.

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“Since we launched our first Wellness Center in late 2013, Theranos has been working to make actionable information accessible to individuals and their physicians at the time it matters most,” said Holmes, who’s also CEO and board chair. “This alliance with a world-renowned health system like Cleveland Clinic furthers our mission, and is another step in our work to bring access to high-quality, affordable lab testing to everyone and help improve the quality and cost of care.”

Theranos’ full spectrum covers “the most common panels to highly specialized tests, on blood samples as small as a few drops,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. The tests require no large needles pulling vials of blood, a sometimes painful procedure that also increases infection risks in some hospitalized patients. It’s also a particular benefit for cancer patients and children, the Cleveland Clinic noted.

Under the collaboration, the two organizations will also pursue research studies, clinical trials, the development of new tests, and the expansion of reference laboratory services throughout Cleveland Clinic Laboratories.

Twitter: @AnthonyBrino