News / Ottawa

CHEO wins 'groundbreaking' legal battle

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has won a legal battle that allows all Canadian hospitals to conduct genetic testing free from patent obstacles.

Some call it a huge win for Canadian patients – and their DNA.

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has won a "groundbreaking" legal battle that allows all Canadian hospitals to conduct genetic testing free from patent obstacles.

"This is a great day for DNA," said Alex Munter, president and CEO of CHEO.

In 2014, CHEO launched a legal challenge against Transgenomic, a company that owns five gene patents linked to a potentially fatal heart condition: Long QT syndrome.

Both parties came to a settlement out-of-court, with Transgenomic agreeing to allow access to its Long QT patents. Instead of sending blood samples to private U.S. labs, Canadian labs will be able to conduct genetic tests in house.

CHEO officials say this will cost 50 per cent less.

It should also pave the way for future gene patents beyond Long QT testing.

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