Ground-breaking settlement changes landscape for genetic medicine in Canada

Nathaniel Lipkus

Mar, 9, 2016

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) announced via a press release that gene patents will no longer stand in the way of diagnosing a life threatening disease. CHEO has reached a settlement of its legal challenge with Transgenomic – the owner of five gene patents related to the potentially deadly Long QT syndrome. Transgenomic has agreed to provide CHEO and all other Canadian hospitals and laboratories the right to test Canadians for Long QT syndrome on a not-for-profit basis.

This agreement not only resolves the immediate issue with Long QT testing but also defines a pathway for all Canadian hospitals and labs to conduct genetic testing without legal road blocks from gene patents.

Nathaniel Lipkus, Partner in Osler’s Intellectual Property Group who, along with Gilbert’s LLP lawyer Sana Halwani, represented CHEO as pro bono counsel in this case, agrees wholeheartedly.

Nathaniel notes: “This agreement will act as a model for public access to future gene patents, so that Canadian hospitals are empowered to provide access to cutting-edge genetic tests. We are very proud of this result.”

It is important to note that patients will get their results faster and start treatment more quickly, as hospitals and labs will no longer need to send blood samples for testing to the United States.

For more information, read CHEO’s full press release from March 9, 2016 as well as the following news sources: