By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – Touting it as the “lab of the future,” city and state officials joined executives and employees from Quest Diagnostics in a ceremony Oct. 2 to open the company’s new 200,000 square-foot lab which is located at the site of the former Hewlett Packard building on Forest Street.
Quest provides diagnostic information services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff, according to company officials. Based in New Jersey, the company is listed on the Fortune 500 and ranked the number one company in the health care industry category of “Pharmacy and Other Services” on FORTUNE magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list in 2013.
The new Marlborough facility will employ 1,350 people when it is fully operational, which is expected by the second quarter of 2015. The facility will consolidate operations from six of the company’s other clinical laboratories now located in Massachusetts and Connecticut. It will also provide the base for Quest’s first diagnostic research and development (R&D) center in New England and only its third in the United States.
Speaking at the Oct. 2 ceremony, Steve Rusckowski, Quest’s president and CEO, said healthcare is now going through a “seismic change” with lab tests only representing 5 percent of overall health care costs.
It was important, he said, ”to create a new, better, way to deliver diagnostic insight.”
Quest had also just entered into an agreement with Siemens, Rusckowski said, for a state-of-the-art advanced automation solution system.
With the new Marlborough lab, Quest was on the “cutting edge of providing the most advanced testing in the world,” he said.
“Think about what that impact will be on your health and that of your family and friends,” he added.
The new facility was first proposed for the site in November 2012. Since that time, Mayor Arthur Vigeant, and local leaders from the Marlborough City Council, Marlborough Economic Development Corporation and Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce worked with state officials to make the proposal a reality. During the Nov. 26, 2012 city council meeting, a 15-year tax financing package was approved for the company, helping to pave the way.
Vigeant, along with other local and state leaders, were present for the Oct. 2 ceremony.
“This is an exciting day for Marlborough,” Vigeant said, as he welcomed Quest to the city.
The byproduct of such a large company on the city’s smaller businesses would be phenomenal, he said. Hundreds of those businesses, ranging from restaurants, stores, and gas stations, would all benefit, he said.
State Representative Danielle Gregoire, D- Marlborough, noted that she was “thrilled to be participating in the renaissance of the building,” which had been shuttered since Hewlett Packard closed its Marlborough operations in 2010.
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, D-MA, 3rd District, also spoke at the ceremony. She commended company officials as well as the city and state officials for what she said was a “tremendous example” of different groups working together to not only benefit Marlborough but also “the healthcare of those in our communities.”
The new facility will also extend a relationship Quest and UMass Memorial Health Care formed when Quest acquired UMass Memorial’s clinical and anatomic pathology outreach business in Worcester in 2013, officials said. About a dozen physicians and medical faculty employed by UMass Memorial Medical Group and the University of Massachusetts Medical School will provide scientific leadership for several facets of laboratory testing for the Marlborough lab. They will also counsel the region’s physicians in the selection and interpretation of clinical laboratory tests, collaborate on R&D, and assist with residency programs onsite for the University’s medical students.