Toronto, ON – As part of a strategy to facilitate genetic testing in Canada and further the growth of personalized medicine, laboratory testing services company LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services today celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art genetics laboratory in Toronto’s west end.
The facility is the largest privately owned genetics laboratory in Canada, and the company says it will make cost-effective, clinically relevant genetic testing more accessible to Canadians while helping to build next-generation genetic testing expertise and capacity in the country.
The opening was attended by officials including Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s minister of health and long-term care. LifeLabs president and CEO Sue Paish commented that an important strategy the company adopted was to partner with other laboratories in Canada and internationally, hospitals, researchers and academia, which enabled them to develop and provide comprehensive genetic testing services focused on cancer, non-invasive prenatal testing, rare inherited conditions and pharmacogenomics.
The various partnerships and acquisitions include:
- A partnership and licensing agreement with Natera to distribute and perform the Panorama Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) in Canada.
- The purchase of the Canadian business of Centogene, which provides rare disease genomic testing.
- A partnership with Contextual Genomics to develop genetic tests for cancer.
- Offering the Prosigna Breast Cancer Prognostic Gene Signature Assay.
- An exclusive distribution agreement for the Counsyl Family Prep Screen, a simple genetic test that identifies carriers of more than 100 serious genetic diseases.
- A partnership with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to establish a national database of genomic profiles of various cancers.
“As genetics continues to transform healthcare delivery, LifeLabs will continue to be at the forefront, working with our government partners and many others to find the most cost effective and meaningful way to deliver this service to Canadians,” she said. “With the opening of our genetics laboratory in Canada, LifeLabs is helping healthcare providers and patients access genetic testing where they live; receive the information they need faster; and be supported by experts who are familiar with our healthcare system.”
“As this new era of personalized medicine evolves, LifeLabs is thrilled to perform genetic tests in Canada and to build genetics expertise and experience in our own country,” said Jeff Sumner, senior vice-president, business development, clinical affairs and genetics. “With help from our partners, the genetics lab will help bring Canadian-developed technology to market and build genetic testing capacity in Canada.”
The 10,000 square foot genetics laboratory opened its doors in December 2014 with lab benches up and running. It has since been undergoing the various necessary accreditation, validation and licensing procedures in preparation for scaling up to full operation.