Jennifer Lawrence is attaching herself to Adam McKay’s drama about medical company Theranos and its 32-year-old founder Elizabeth Holmes. Theranos is the blood-testing startup that once had Silicon Valley investors salivating over its commercial potential with a $9 billion valuation as recently as two years ago. Gary Sanchez Productions is producing with Sanchez producer Kevin Messick planning to approach buyers next week.
Founded in 2003 by Holmes, Theranos claimed to have revolutionized blood testing by being able to use only a pinprick of blood, rather than traditional methods of drawing blood by injection. The company however is now under investigation over claims of inaccurate test results and Holmes’ own worth — at one point valued at $4.5 billion by Forbes thanks to her 50% stake in the company — has plummeted to a fraction of that. What’s more, Theranos may even be banned from practicing for two years for failing to resolve significant problems at its main California lab, according to a report from federal health regulator The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
McKay, who did an outstanding job making the financial crisis understandableand enjoyable in The Big Short, feels like the perfect filmmaker for this rise-and-fall cautionary tale for a company that once could boast of Henry Kissinger on its board of directors. In Lawrence, he may have found the perfect leading lady to embody Holmes, at one point the latest poster child for medical innovation and potential profitability. Forbes has now revised the estimated net worth of the company to $800 million taking into account the $724 million of capital raised. Holmes and her Theranos execs have vigorously denied claims that the company’s tests are unreliable and have made statements that they are cooperating with the relevant authorities to resolve the issues.