Challenging Broad Gene Patents that Impede Genetic Testing, Diagnosis and Treatment

The Pro Bono Cause

CHEO is the pediatric hospital in Canada’s capital region that helps over 500,000 kids each year in Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut.

Affiliated with the University of Ottawa, it is home to globally recognized clinicians and researchers in such areas as genetic discoveries, cancer, mental illness and more.

In 2014 CHEO launched a Federal Court challenge to change a law that allowed broad gene patents to impede genetic testing, diagnosis and treatment.

The Osler Pro Bono Connection

Osler IP partner, Nathaniel Lipkus and Gilbert’s LLP lawyer, Sana Halwani have worked for several years pro bono on this significant public policy issue.

The settlement reached between CHEO and the US patent holder will serve as a model for public access to future gene patents.

CHEO case wins 2016 LMG Life Sciences Award

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario v Transgenomic Inc has been named a “Canadian IP Contentious Impact Case of the Year” by LMG Life Sciences.

Volunteer Reflections

"Working with CHEO has been a highlight of my career.  It was my absolute pleasure to have helped the hospital bring widespread access to genetic tests for Canadian patients.  I am also proud to have shaped gene patent policy for the better."  Nathaniel Lipkus

John Macfarlane

Nathaniel Lipkus: Intellectual Property Partner
nlipkus@osler.com
Toronto

A word from CHEO

"As a leader in genetics in Canada, CHEO is dedicated to mapping out the future of medicine. In November 2014, we launched a legal challenge on gene patents on behalf of our patients. With the successful resolution of this case, we have resolved the patent issue years sooner than we had thought achievable. This is a tremendous win for patients families across Canada. CHEO would like to extend its profound gratitude to Nathaniel Lipkus and Sana Halwani who took on this case pro bono and without whom this would not be possible."

Alex Munter
President and Chief Executive Officer
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario