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Quest expands Mass. presence with additional lab space

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Madison-based Quest Diagnostics is expanding into the laboratories of academic health care facilities in Massachusetts, increasing the company's footprint outside New Jersey.

Quest announced Wednesday it completed the acquisition of the UMass Memorial Medical Center clinical outreach laboratory, in Worcester, Mass., and announced the acquisition of the medical center’s anatomic pathology outreach lab. Quest also signed a lease for 200,000 square feet in Marlborough, Mass., for a new state-of-the-art clinical lab, which eventually will house the UMass lab assets as well as several other diagnostic services.

Wendy Bost, director of media relations for Quest, said the acquisition is part of a national trend the company is seeing of hospitals wanting to focus on clinical care, and using acquisitions or joint ventures to provide quality and cost-effective diagnostic services.

“We have a long standing commitment to the Massachusetts and New England region,” Bost said. “In this case, we were fortunate to come across a provider such as UMass that is forward-thinking about changes going on in the health care space, and making sure they’re providing financially viable services.”

Bost said the company’s home state is “clearly an important region for us,” but would not elaborate on any potential similar transactions in New Jersey.

“At this stage, we are exploring opportunities in different parts of the country, because we believe that there are hospital systems around the U.S. who are recognizing that, by focusing on their core business, focusing on patient care, they have an opportunity to drive cost synergies,” Bost said.

Bost said Quest had done a number of acquisitions or joint ventures in the 1990s with hospitals, but in recent years, providers began building and operating their own labs. The UMass deal is the second in 12 months for Quest, which Bost said indicates another swing of the pendulum.

“Through the transaction, we expect we will be able to benefit from the academic expertise of UMass Memorial, but we’re also in a position, thanks to Quest’s scale and our own diagnostic expertise, to provide services to that market that we expect will be more cost effective than hospital outreach labs could offer themselves,” Bost said.

Academic faculty and other laboratory professionals from UMass Memorial and the University of Massachusetts Medical School will collaborate with Quest on pathology and other clinical services, according to the announcement.


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