Lighthouse Lab Services Merges with Elite Diagnostics, Expands Offerings, Including COVID-19 Test Validation
Lighthouse Lab Services, a medical laboratory consulting, staffing and recruiting company based in Holly Springs, has finalized a merger with Elite Diagnostics, a healthcare consulting and management firm in Charlotte.
NaviMed Capital, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare-focused private equity firm, approached the two North Carolina companies, who often competed against one another for projects, about combining their efforts into one lab management consulting company focused on the clinical diagnostic arena.
Jon Harol, who founded Lighthouse Labs in 2003, serves as president of the new company. “Our mission is to make quality lab testing more accessible,” said Harol. He said that by combining the two companies’ strengths, the new entity will be able to expand their capabilities as they serve more than 300 laboratories across the country.
The merged company, with 80 employees, now operates as Lighthouse Lab Services and Elite Diagnostics, but will move to one brand later this year. Lighthouse will continue to operate out of its three offices in Holly Springs. Elite plans to double in size and move to a larger space in Charlotte in the next few months. Mark Roth, founder of Elite Diagnostics, serves as the new company’s chief executive officer.
Lighthouse and Elite provide advisory and management services to clinical, medical, and industrial laboratories. Their offerings include assisting with licensure, regulatory compliance and accreditation. They also offer lab management and staffing solutions via their database of more than 180,000 laboratory professional résumés including those of Ph.D. and masters-level analytical chemists, pharmacologists, toxicologists and lab scientists.
“Labs are responsible for 75% of the data behind medical decisions,” said Harol. “Yet, only 2.6% of healthcare spend is dedicated to laboratory testing.” He said Lighthouse Lab Services and Elite Diagnostics want to improve healthcare by removing barriers and inefficiencies.
COVID-19 test kits could impact direct-to-consumer lab testing
Examples of the barriers that labs can experience were obvious with the coronavirus test kits initially distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Harol said many labs were unable to administer the tests because they did not have the necessary equipment and there was a shortage of supplies.
As a result of those inefficiencies, the Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidelines allowing private companies to begin marketing COVID-19 test kits.
Harol said it will be interesting to see how direct-to-consumer coronavirus test kits might influence other lab testing.
Lighthouse Labs and Elite Diagnostics have signed their first three coronavirus testing validation projects and have several more pending.