Blood-testing startup Theranos said to be closing

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Mr Taylor said Theranos had run "out of time" to secure further investment or secure a buyer for its assets.

The biotech company, which was once valued at $9 billion, built its reputation on the claim that it had come up with a cheaper, more efficient alternative to traditional medical tests.

Theranos is shutting down, The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday night, citing a shareholder email.

The move comes after founder Elizabeth Holmes settled a shareholder lawsuit in July aimed at recovering whatever can be salvaged from the fallen blood testing startup.

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Holmes, who was once considered a wunderkind of Silicon Valley, and Balwani were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud each.

The firm will attempt to pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash in the coming months, the Journal reported, adding that big-name investors had lost about $1 billion. Former CEO Elizabeth Holmes' black turtleneck and lofty goals drew comparisons with Apple's Steve Jobs.

Theranos attracted more than $700m worth of backing from a glittering line-up of investors and recruited some of America's most powerful statesmen, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and the current defence secretary James Mattis, to its board.

Prosecutors allege Holmes and Balwani deliberately misled investors, policymakers and the public about the accuracy of Theranos' blood-testing technologies going back to at least 2013.

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The SEC accused them of obtaining $700 million in investments by orchestrating an "elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company's technology, business, and financial performance". The Journal reports that most of the company's remaining employees worked their last day on August 31, while Taylor and a few others have just a few more days on the payroll.

The Wall Street Journal began investigating and published a series of exposes starting from October 2015.

Holmes and Balwani in March were also charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with "massive fraud".

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