Hound Labs and Quest

Hound Labs Forms Strategic Agreement with Quest Diagnostics

Sep 15, 2022

Quest Diagnostics to perform confirmatory testing of positive breath samples from the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER

Hound Labs, a leader in ultra-sensitive, automated, accurate, and portable analytical technologies and creator of the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, today announces their agreement with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. The agreement establishes Quest as the exclusive provider of laboratory services for confirmatory testing of positive breath sample results generated by the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, used by employers on location as an objective measure to detect and deter cannabis use during the workday. 

“The era of cannabis legalization has fundamentally changed how employers think about cannabis testing as they look to balance safety and fairness in the workplace,” said Sammie Dabbs, Executive Vice President of Sales at Hound Labs. “Our solution will provide employers with an additional tool to isolate recent cannabis use while attracting highly qualified candidates and retaining valued employees.”

The HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, a first-of-its-kind portable solution, identifies cannabis used within hours of testing and automatically processes results on-location within minutes. Negative test results indicate an employee is not likely to have used cannabis immediately preceding or during the workday. Under the terms, Quest Diagnostics will use a novel mass spectrometry technique it recently developed and validated at its Lenexa, KS, laboratory to confirm positive results from the Hound® solution. Quest’s new technique is designed to match the level of sensitivity developed by Hound Labs to detect THC, the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis, in breath samples. 

“As a leader in laboratory diagnostics and workforce drug testing, Quest is ideally positioned to confirm positive results from the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER when our customers’ best practices require a confirmatory lab test,” said Nina M. French, President of Employer and Law Enforcement Solutions, with Hound Labs. “Cannabis legalization has prompted some employers to reconsider their workplace cannabis testing policies. They now need to know when an employee used cannabis to align test results more effectively with program objectives. We are excited Quest is working with us on our mission to help employers balance SAFETY+FAIRNESS.” 

Increasing cannabis legalization creates additional complications for employers as conventional cannabis testing methods – including oral fluid, urine, and hair – have windows of detection extending days, weeks, or months after use. Testing breath for cannabis using the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER isolates detection of THC to hours after use, aligning with research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco.1  

“This groundbreaking technology is the first to isolate recent cannabis use, giving employers a cannabis testing solution that correlates to the employee’s workday,” said Aaron Atkinson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hound Labs. “By implementing cannabis breath testing, employers can detect and deter cannabis use that occurs immediately before or during work hours and avoid penalizing use that occurs outside of work.”  

The use of cannabis has surged in recent years. According to the 2022 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI),2 positivity for marijuana in urine testing for the general workforce in 2021 was 3.9%, a 20-year high. Quest also reported in the 2022 DTI that oral fluid positivity for marijuana increased about 20% in 2021 to 14.8% of those tested. 

“While marijuana use is a concern to employers focused on fostering workforce health and safety, its legalization in several states may challenge some employers struggling to hire in tight labor markets,” said Keith Ward, Vice President and General Manager of Employer Solutions for Quest Diagnostics. “The Hound® solution is an important innovation because it will help employers detect and deter workday marijuana use most associated with safety risks, providing a new tool for employers to add to their suite of testing solutions.”  

Hound Labs will begin delivering the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER in late 2022.   

The full media release is available here.