- Filling the gap left by struggling Theranos, Sonora Quest Laboratories announced last week an agreement to open patient service centers in select Safeway stores in Arizona.
- This move comes roughly one month after the Wall Street Journal reported Safeway and Theranos would be dissolving a $350 million agreement dating back to 2011 (a report that the latter firm has pushed back on). Theranos had been contracted to provide blood-testing services through Safeway-installed clinics.
- Sonora Quest Labs is the leading provider of lab-testing services in metro-area Phoenix, operating 70 testing centers where patients can receive doctor-ordered tests. A recent law passed in Arizona allows direct-to-consumer testing, which Sonora can now begin to offer as well.
The back story: Safeway's former CEO, Steven Burd, pushed for the installation of 800 Theranos clinics throughout Safeway's stores over a four year period starting in 2011, according to the WSJ. However, the blood-testing services never got off the ground. Theranos missed several deadlines, while Safeway began to have concerns over the accuracy of Theranos' finger-prick method.
But it seems Safeway's enthusiasm for health and wellness hasn't faltered with the announcement of this new deal. Although Sonora reported the move in a press release last week, the deal had not received much notice amid the holiday week.
Theranos issued the following statement to The Arizona Republic regarding the turn of events:
"Theranos has defined the accessible lab testing model in Arizona, as the first to create retail-based wellness centers and as the only lab that championed historic legislation that now allows direct access to that lab testing. We are confident in the strength of our provider and retail partnerships and look forward to continued expansion in Arizona and elsewhere."