Ms. Esponet said the women at the tech startups wrote to her to thank them for what they were feeling.
The founder of the base, Lola Prego, 30, who offers in-house blood and saliva tests performed in traditional labs, listens to comparisons of Theranos at least once a week. References come directly or indirectly from potential partners, advisers, investors, clients and correspondents, he said.
She says she understands the need for skepticism, as new healthcare companies need to be looked at critically for preventing misconduct. The comparison often ended when people found out that Base was working with Quest Diagnostics, a multinational company, to analyze their tests.
“But it’s hard to overcome the extra prejudice and suspicion,” Ms Prego said.
The biggest blow came from a scientific adviser whom Ms Prego said she had tried to recruit in 2019. The consultant convened the meeting only to point out that bringing technology into healthcare is hurting the industry, such as Thiranos. Because of this, Ms. Prego raised the question of whether she could hire the counselors she had hoped for.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. Since then, it has recruited six advisers.
In July, Virge Genomics partnered with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to work on drugs to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, Ms. Zhang said. The company also published an article on its methods in a scientific journal last year and hired a chief science officer this year.
Ms. Zhang said it was a relief to show those who were in doubt.
“The most critical part of the company is the initial phase, when you have to buy into people, vision and ideas,” he said. Reflecting on Ms. Holmes and Theranos, she added, “This is where such associations can be really harmful and potentially diminished.”