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Six months after launch, a startup founded by three leaders in the blood testing field is being acquired by medical testing giant Quest Diagnostics.

Quest announced on Thursday that it is buying Haystack Oncology, which was founded by the founders of another blood testing startup, Thrive Earlier Detection Corp.: Johns Hopkins oncologists Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler, and Nickolas Papadopoulos.


The team has made waves in an emerging field called liquid biopsies: blood tests that can be taken during routine doctors’ visits to detect unique signs of cancer. Most of the tests are designed with the goal of sussing out early signs of cancer, before the disease has begun spreading and wreaking havoc in the body — a pursuit that’s been called “long-sought holy grail of oncology.” The trio created Haystack to help people who have already been diagnosed with cancer by finding potential indicators of cancer recurrence.

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