Natera, Inc., a global leader in non-invasive genetic testing, and LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services ("LifeLabs") today announced a new agreement that gives LifeLabs the rights to perform non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in Canada using Natera technology. Pregnant women and their healthcare professionals will receive faster information about their fetus using world-class technology delivered through a Canadian based laboratory. Today's announcement builds on the LifeLabs-Natera partnership established in 2013 which resulted in LifeLabs becoming the first Canadian distributor of Panorama. This marks an important step in bringing meaningful, clinically relevant genetic information to Canadians while building next-generation genetic testing expertise and capacity in Canada.
"LifeLabs is committed to being the Canadian leader in delivering proven, trusted and clinically relevant genetic testing to Canadians. Our agreement with Natera further delivers on that commitment," said Sue Paish, President and CEO of LifeLabs, Canada's largest community-based laboratory services company. "Delivering NIPT through our Canadian labs instead of sending tests outside of the country allows us to provide information to patients faster while at the same time helping to reduce costs for both individuals and our healthcare system."
Panorama is a safe and simple way for expectant mothers to learn about the health of their baby without an invasive diagnostic procedure. Panorama uses a simple blood draw from the mother to examine cell-free DNA found in maternal blood originating from both mother and fetus to screen for chromosome abnormalities, including trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome), monosomy X (Turner syndrome), and triploidy. Panorama is also able to screen for five clinically relevant microdeletions, conditions that are the result of missing pieces of DNA on specific chromosomes. The test can be performed as early as nine weeks of gestation without any risk to the fetus.
"We are pleased that LifeLabs has chosen Natera's technology for the development of its NIPT capability," added Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of Natera. "Panorama is a trusted name in prenatal screening, and now Natera has deployed a scalable cloud-based software system that will support laboratories worldwide in developing non-invasive DNA testing capabilities of their own, with built-in quality control and outstanding clinical performance."
Leading professional associations such as the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have recommended that NIPT be offered as a test option to women with increased risk factors for fetal DNA abnormalities. Patients should consult with their healthcare provider to determine if Panorama is right for them. The test can be ordered by healthcare providers across Canada and consists of a simple blood draw collected at any LifeLabs, CML Healthcare or BC Biomedical collection centre in British Columbia or Ontario. If a patient lives outside of these two provinces, healthcare providers can contact LifeLabs for collection options.