Health Diagnostic Laboratory hires investment bank as financial adviser

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires

Health Diagnostic Laboratory, one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Richmond area, has hired a financial adviser, New York-based investment-banking firm Cain Brothers, but HDL’s CEO said Wednesday that the company is not for sale.

"Last year, Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. engaged Cain Brothers to serve as our financial adviser and to assist us in the evaluation of strategic partnership opportunities and growth initiatives. Cain Brothers has advised Health Diagnostic Laboratory on a variety of growth activities — none of which involve the sale of the company," said Tonya Mallory, HDL’s co-founder, president and CEO.

Cain Brothers focuses exclusively on the health-care industry.  With offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, the firm provides capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and strategic and financial advisory services. Clients include investor-owned and tax-exempt providers, insurers and payers, health-care information technology and medical technology companies and private equity and venture capital financial sponsors. According to its website, Cain Brothers has one of the largest teams of experienced health-care bankers and capital markets professionals on Wall Street.

Since the first of the year, HDL has seen the departure of two of its senior executives,  CFO Steve Carroll and Mark Herzog, the company’s senior vice president of corporate and governmental affairs.

Carroll retired on March 1. Reached by Virginia Business, Carroll said the parting was amicable and added that it’s not unusual for a private company at this point in a rapid-growth cycle to retain the services of a financial adviser.

Carroll had been CFO at the company since July 2011. Before joining HDL, he had been an outside accounting consultant to the cardiovascular diagnostic lab.  Last June, Virginia Business presented Carroll with the 2013 Virginia CFO Award in the large private company category.

Chris Vlahcevic, an accounting director at HDL, is serving as interim CFO, and a search is underway to fill the position.

Herzog left HDL in mid-March for Richmond-based pharmaceutical company Kaleo (formerly known as Intelliject).  Before joining HDL in May 2012, Herzog was executive director of Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Jeff Kelly, a marketing program manager at HDL, pointed out that the company has brought several new executives on board in the past year. They include Nuno Valentine, chief information officer (who also serves as founder/principal of C3 Nexus, an HDL partner company that specializes in monitoring patients who have been discharged after a cardiac event); Kathy Johnson, chief compliance officer; and Maciek Sasinowski, vice president of clinical affairs.

Founded in 2009, HDL’s initial mission was to provide blood test diagnostic services to physicians. Its revenues come primarily from a panel of lab tests that the company says allow early detection of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.

Mallory refers to the firm as a health management company, because in addition to diagnostic testing, it has added early detection and health coaching services for a fee to private companies.

In an interview in December, when Virginia Business named Mallory its 2013 Business Person of the Year, she said the company’s annual revenue was more than $420 million.

HDL has grown from a handful of employees to more than 800, with 700 working in the Richmond area.  It has continued to expand its office facilities in Richmond’s BioTechnology Park where a $68.5 million expansion is tripling the company’s footprint to 280,000 square feet.

This week the company rolled out its latest expansion: four My HDL Hub health centers in the Richmond area. At two of these hubs, people, even without a doctor’s referral, can get blood drawn for tests that can reveal risk factors for things such as diabetes and health disease. The out-of-pocket fee is $295.  The centers also expect to serve customers with physician referrals and employees from companies with corporate wellness programs.

Besides testing, the centers offer trained consultants who can talk with patients on ways to improve their health through lifestyle changes.

The company plans to rollout other My HDL Hub centers across the country, including one in the Hampton Roads region this summer. In one published report, Mallory said she expects the company to spend about $1 million per site.

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