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Our Past: A Legacy of Accomplishments

Quest Diagnostics was founded in 1967 by Paul A. Brown, M.D. a pathology resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital, with a $500 loan from his father-in-law. Dr. Brown’s vision for the new company --then called Metropolitan Pathology Laboratories (MetPath) -- was to provide outpatient laboratory testing which would improve accuracy and reduce costs for patients and area hospitals in New York. The headquarters for the new enterprise was a modest apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Heights section; a bathtub acted as the staining area for Pap test slides for cervical cancer.

Quest Diagnostics began in a 2-room apartment in this New York City building in 1967

In 1982, MetPath was acquired by Corning Glass Works, a leading producer of glassware and high-technology glass and fiber-optics products. The company was subsequently renamed Corning Clinical Laboratories.

In 1997, Corning spun off its laboratory business as a separate entity trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DGX) with a new name – Quest Diagnostics – to signify the company’s commitment to quality and medical insights. At the time, the company had $1.5 billion in revenues and about 16,300 employees.

Two years later, in 1999, Quest Diagnostics acquired SmithKline Beecham Clinical Labs, establishing itself as the leading national provider of laboratory services.

Over the years, Quest Diagnostics has grown as a result of its focus on innovation and quality. The company has helped to introduce physicians and patients to several innovations, including molecular viral load testing for HIV, liquid-based Pap testing for cervical cancer screening and p53 gene sequencing for cancer, which are widely used today.

The company also began to publish studies it conducted on its growing database of de-identified lab test results to inform public health awareness, beginning with the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, an analysis of workplace drug test results, in 1988, and later, Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ reports on topics ranging from pregnancy and influenza to allergies and diabetes.

Quest was also the first major lab provider to implement Six Sigma, a continuous improvement process used in manufacturing to enhance quality, instituting the process in its labs in 2000.

Acquisitions and partnerships have long played a role in the Quest Diagnostics strategy -- a legacy that continues today. Signature acquisitions of companies that continue to operate using their original brand names include Nichols Institute (1994), Focus Diagnostics (now Focus Laboratories) (2006), AmeriPath and Dermpath Diagnostics (2007) and Athena Diagnostics (2011).