Market Expansion Tactics for Testing Labs: Strategies for Growth

Explore strategic insights into how testing laboratories can grow their business through effective partnerships, mergers, and geographic expansion, with real-world examples to guide industry professionals.

by | Apr 30, 2024

Introduction to Market Expansion

In the rapidly evolving landscape of scientific testing, laboratories face constant pressure to grow and adapt to new market demands. Whether it’s responding to technological advancements, regulatory changes, or shifts in consumer behavior, testing labs must employ strategic approaches to expand their services and enter new markets. Effective expansion not only enhances a lab’s competitive edge but also ensures its sustainability in a dynamic industry. This article delves into various market expansion tactics for testing labs, focusing on partnership models, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and geographic expansion. Through real-world examples, we will illustrate how these strategies have been successfully implemented by leading labs, providing valuable lessons and actionable insights for others in the sector.

Partnership Models

  1. Strategic Alliances: Testing labs can form strategic alliances with complementary businesses such as pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, or manufacturers. These partnerships can allow labs to access new technologies, expertise, and markets. For example, a partnership with a drug manufacturer could open doors to the clinical trials market. Quest Diagnostics is a great example of this tactic. In 2019, Quest Diagnostics formed a strategic alliance with HC1 to enhance precision in testing through HC1’s bioinformatics platform, improving patient outcomes through targeted diagnostics.
  2. Joint Ventures: Establishing joint ventures with local firms in target markets can be an effective way to expand geographically while mitigating risks. This approach provides shared resources and local knowledge, crucial for navigating regulatory environments and cultural differences. A case in point, LabCorp and the Mount Sinai Health System launched “Lab100” as a joint venture, which merges health assessment with research to optimize patient health through innovative diagnostics.
  3. Academic and Research Collaborations: Partnering with universities and research institutions can enhance a lab’s capabilities in advanced research and development, thereby attracting projects that require cutting-edge analytical services and creating avenues into innovative sectors. A leader in collaborative growth strategies, the Mayo Clinic has several collaborative ventures with academic and research facilities extending their reach and capabilities.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

  1. Acquiring Specialized Labs: Testing labs can acquire specialized labs to quickly gain capabilities in high-demand areas such as genetic testing, personalized medicine, or environmental testing. This tactic not only broadens the service portfolio but also brings in established customer bases. In 2019, Eurofins Scientific expanded its capabilities in transplant diagnostics by acquiring Transplant Genomics Inc., thereby enhancing its service portfolio and customer base.
  2. Vertical Integration: By acquiring suppliers or distributors, labs can control more of the supply chain, reduce costs, and improve service delivery times. Vertical integration helps labs offer comprehensive solutions to clients, enhancing competitive advantage. As an example,
  3. Vertical Integration: By acquiring suppliers or distributors, labs can control more of the supply chain, reduce costs, and improve service delivery times. Vertical integration helps labs offer comprehensive solutions to clients, enhancing competitive advantage. As an example, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Patheon allowed it to streamline its supply chain, integrating drug development and delivery systems to offer end-to-end solutions.
  4. Cross-Border M&A: Entering international markets through M&A can allow labs to quickly establish a presence in regions where demand is growing, such as Asia or Latin America. This strategy requires thorough market analysis and an understanding of local regulations and business practices. Leveraging this strategy, Charles River Laboratories strengthened its global presence by acquiring Citoxlab, enhancing its service offerings in early-stage drug development across Europe and North America.

Geographic Expansion

  1. New Regional Markets: Expanding into new geographic areas can open up markets that have less competition or are in the early stages of regulatory development, such as certain parts of Africa and Asia. Establishing satellite labs or mobile testing units can cater to underserved areas, providing first-mover advantages. As an example, SYNLAB’s acquisition of a majority stake in LABCO significantly increased its operational footprint in Latin America, marking a substantial move into new and emerging markets.
  2. Scaling Operations: To support geographic expansion, labs must scale their operations effectively. This includes investing in scalable technologies, training local teams, and implementing robust supply chain logistics. In an effort to grow into new markets, LabCorp expanded its accessibility by opening patient service centers in strategic locations such as Walgreens stores across the U.S., improving patient access and operational reach.
  3. Localization of Services: Adapting services to meet local needs and complying with local regulations are crucial. This may involve tailoring testing protocols to specific regional health concerns or environmental conditions. As a prime example, Myriad Genetics adapted its genetic testing services for the European market, tailoring its offerings to meet specific regional regulatory and cultural needs.


Market expansion for testing labs involves a strategic blend of partnerships, acquisitions, and geographic diversification. By carefully planning and executing these strategies, labs can enhance their market presence, access new customer segments, and drive growth. As the industry continues to evolve, flexibility and innovation will remain key to successfully entering and thriving in new markets.

Contract Laboratory works to facilitate partnerships between our network companies. If you have a business proposal, feel free to Submit a Business Request, or contact us for more information.

Related Content


Editor's Choice