The much anticipated Elizabeth Holmes documentary that aired on HBO Monday night revisited the tragic details of the Theranos biochemist who took his own life rather than expose the fact that the $9 billion company was built around a machine that did not work.
Ian Gibbons was found close to death in his bathroom after taking an overdose of pills on the morning of May 17, the same day he was to be deposed in a patent lawsuit filed against Theranos by a competitor.
He died in the hospital one week later, at which point his widow called the Theranos office to inform Holmes of the devastating news.
Holmes did not call back however, and instead Gibbons’ grieving wife was sent an email demanding she turn over her husband’s computer and any other confidential Theranos documents.
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Deadly ambition: Ian Gibbons took his own life in 2013 on the same day he was to be deposed in a patent lawsuit filed against Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes (above in 2015)
Logic: In the months leading up to his deposition he became increasingly ostracized at the company, and vocal about the problems with the Edison (Gibbons above)
Gibbons was the first experienced scientist hired by Theranos and an expert in the field of blood testing, having patented a mechanism for mixing anhd diluting blood that was a crucial part of the comany’s technology.
He began working at Theranos in 2005, and the Cambridge-educated biochemist shared the rights to a number of patents with Holmes.
It is believed by most people that it was Gibbons who did all the work to obtain these patents, to which Holmes would simply attach her name.
Gibbons began to notice over time however that Edison, the machine that Holmes had claimed would revolutionize the medical industry, did not work.
That situation was further complicated by Holmes’ business model, which forced each department in her company to operate independently and not share any information.
Gibbons would still spend time with the young scientists though, helping them work on and design their experiments.
Former co-workers describe him as a ‘wealth of knowledge,’ but by 2012 he had been ostracized tot he point that he did not even have an office at the company headquarters.
‘Ian got into really bad shape with Sonny and Elizabeth, because there are so many things wrong with that technology,’ explained his wife Rochelle.
‘And isn’t that the point of someone like that being there, top tell them why it isn’t going to work.’
In early 2013, Theranos was hit with a patent lawsuit, and did everything in its power to keep Gibbons from testifying.
The belief at the time was that this was because he might reveal that the Edison did not function, thus shattering the groundwork on which the $9 billion company had been built.
Devastated: His widow Rochelle (above) said that the night before he was to be deposed he asked her if she believed he was going to lose his job, and she said yes
Gibbons learn he was to be disposed, and began drinking heavily while becoming increasingly depressed, and soon her was working from home.
A former Theranos employee said that he had been told Gibbons was asked to stay home by Holmes due to the fact that he continually pointed out things that were not working with the company’s inventions.
‘Ian asked me if I thought he was going to be fired. And I told him yes, unfortunately,’ said Rochelle.
‘And that was the night he killed himself.’
She went to explain how ‘distraught’ her husband was at the time about the patent case and his fears over what he was going to do with the rest of his life once he was fired from the company where he had spent the past eight years of his life.
Rochelle was then asked how the company responded to her husband’s suicide.
‘I don’t know because they never spoke to me except to tell me to return his confidential stuff,’ said Rochelle.
‘I took the documents that he had left at home and brought them to the front desk.’
When asked if she has ever once heard from Holmes in the six years since her husband took his life, Rochelle said: ‘No.’