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Holmes defends beliefs in Theranos technology at her fraud trial

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 22 (Reuters) – Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes on Monday defended her leadership at the now-defunct blood testing startup, telling jurors in her fraud trial that she had confidence in the company’s technology and had positive results from early study.

Holmes ‘second day of testimony was part of the defense strategy to show that she believed Theranos’ technology was working and was not trying to overestimate her prospects in raising money from investors.

Holmes, 37, is accused of lying about Theranos, which touted a technology that could perform diagnostic tests faster and more accurately than traditional laboratory tests using a drop of blood from a finger prick.

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Once valued at $ 9 billion, Theranos collapsed after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles starting in 2015 that suggested its devices were buggy and inaccurate.

In Monday’s statement, Holmes compared a traditional testing machine to a much smaller Theranos device, which she referred to as a 3.0, which aimed to eliminate human involvement in the processing of blood samples.

“If we had the ability to automate much of this process, we could reduce the errors associated with traditional laboratory testing,” said Holmes.

She also testified about studies in 2008 and 2009 that she believed Theranos devices did well, including studies conducted under agreements with pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis AG (NOVN.S).

Holmes’ decision to testify is risky as it will expose her to potentially harsh prosecution cross-examination.

The process has put Silicon Valley startups in the spotlight, which are often rated highly based on promises of success rather than actual revenue and profit streams.

Holmes’ lawyers have tried to portray her as a young entrepreneur who underestimated the barriers of Theranos.

More than 50 journalists and spectators arrived at the courthouse early Monday morning to await Holmes’ testimony, which began almost two hours late.

During the two-month trial, juries heard testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, including patients and investors, who were misled, according to Holmes prosecutors.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty of nine wire transfer fraud cases and two conspiracy cases. Your testimony is due to continue on Tuesday.

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Reporting by Jody Godoy in San Jose, California; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Bill Berkrot

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