Quest Diagnostics, Secaucus, NJ, has approved a definitive agreement to acquire Cleveland HeartLab, a provider of diagnostic services for managing cardiovascular disease, from equity investors, including the Cleveland Clinic. Quest intends to establish a national center of excellence in diagnostic information services at Cleveland HeartLab’s specialized laboratory in Cleveland. The center will focus on services that aid in assessing risk and treatment protocols for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

The equity transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to customary regulatory reviews. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

In connection with the acquisition, Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland Clinic are forming a strategic collaboration intended to accelerate the conversion of emerging innovations into diagnostic services to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. Specifically, Quest and Cleveland Clinic will create a steering committee of experts from both companies to evaluate biomarkers of inflammation and other areas of disease discovered by the Lerner Research Institute and other parts of Cleveland Clinic. Quest Diagnostics may then independently develop test services for these important biomarkers. The two entities also intend to collaborate on trials to demonstrate the clinical and economic value of these and other biomarkers.

“Our goal is to accelerate the development of new tools for diagnosing human disease and to make those tools broadly accessible for clinical use,” says Brian Donley, MD, chief of staff at the Cleveland Clinic. “That’s a powerful combination which, over time, will deliver improved healthcare value for many patients.”

Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland HeartLab will also explore ways to expand Cleveland HeartLab’s existing relationship with MDVIP, a national leader in personalized, preventive care, with a network of nearly 1,000 primary care physicians. MDVIP–affiliated physicians have the time, due to smaller patient practices, tools, and technology, to focus on wellness and prevention. Both Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland HeartLab provide specialized health and wellness services for primary care settings.

“Heart disease kills more people than all cancers combined, yet it is also largely preventable if caught and treated early,” says Steve Rusckowski, chairman, president, and CEO of Quest Diagnostics. “By combining the science of Cleveland Clinic with the innovation and reach of Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland HeartLab, we will provide new insights for empowering better health. Quest’s relationships with these top institutions also highlights progress with our accelerate growth strategy, which focuses in part on strategically aligned, accretive acquisitions.”

Identifying Hidden Risks of Heart Disease

In the United States, heart disease accounts for approximately 800,000 deaths annually—or roughly one out of every three deaths. The condition and its associated outcomes, such as stroke and heart attack, are often preventable with behavioral changes and drug therapies.

A spin-off of Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland HeartLab has created a specialized approach to identifying risk of heart disease, based in part on science published in more than 100 peer-reviewed journals. A growing body of research suggests these risks may be influenced by certain types of inflammation, genetics, endocrine and metabolic disorders, lipid particle composition, and intestinal microbes—markers that are not included in a routine cholesterol panel, the primary laboratory method for assessing heart health.

Quest’s acquisition of Cleveland HeartLab will combine the expertise of Cleveland HeartLab’s personalized evaluation of heart disease risk based on inflammation and other markers with Quest’s leadership in genetic and metabolic testing and Cardio IQ lipid particle analysis.

“Despite a mountain of research showing traditional cholesterol testing can miss heart disease, many patients are still in the dark about their true risk,” says Jake Orville, president and CEO of Cleveland HeartLab. “With investment and focus from a leader like Quest, and access to the science of Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland HeartLab will be well positioned to accelerate diagnostic innovations that shed light on risk of heart disease for the individual patient.”

For more information, visit Cleveland HeartLab and Quest Diagnostics.