February 16, 2021—Toronto, ON—LifeLabs and Multiplex Genomics are proud to announce a strategic alliance that will greatly expand Canada’s capacity to test and track COVID-19 and its variants. The need for expanded high-volume testing is critical for our national response to the coronavirus pandemic, especially for efforts to halt its transmission. Through this joint effort, LifeLabs and Multiplex Genomics will be able to analyze 20,000 COVID-19 samples a day, with plans to grow to 50,000 by mid-2021. Moreover, every positive sample will be sequence characterized to assign it to a variant.
For more than 50 years, LifeLabs has been a valued health care partner for millions of Canadians, providing reliable service and trusted results. With 375 access points across the country and a comprehensive logistics network, LifeLabs is a familiar presence in our communities. Throughout the pandemic, LifeLabs has proven itself to be an important partner in the response to COVID-19, having completed 1.4 million COVID-19 PCR tests to date. Through its FlyClear program, LifeLabs has provided invaluable testing services to international travellers, providing them with the timely and accurate results they need to enter Canada and other destinations.
Multiplex Genomics is a Canadian firm focused on developing methods that make it possible to scale up conventional COVID-19 testing and to identify the variants of this virus. Its capacity to undertake this work reflects expertise developed over the past 20 years by researchers at Guelph’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, a global leader in the application of molecular methods for species identification.
“LifeLabs is thrilled to partner with Multiplex Genomics,” says Charles Brown, President & CEO of LifeLabs. “This made-in-Canada solution combines LifeLabs’ deep operational and supply chain experience with Multiplex Genomics’ innovative diagnostic processes, allowing Canada to rapidly scale its testing capacity to meet increased demand at a time when we need it most.”
“Multiplex Genomics is determined to use its capabilities in molecular diagnostics to help suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. LifeLabs is the perfect collaborator to realize this challenging goal,” says Dr. Paul Hebert, CEO of Multiplex Genomics.
Through this unique partnership, LifeLabs and Multiplex Genomics will greatly improve our understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 and its variants in our communities – a critical enabler for the national response to this health crisis.
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LifeLabs is Canada’s leading provider of laboratory diagnostic information and digital health connectivity systems, enabling patients and health care practitioners to diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent disease. We support 20 million patient visits annually and conduct over 100 million laboratory tests through leading edge technologies and our 6,000 talented and dedicated employees. We are a committed innovator in supporting Canadians to live healthier lives, operating Canada’s first commercial genetics lab, and the country’s largest online patient portal, with more than 5 million Canadians receiving their results online. LifeLabs is 100% Canadian owned by OMERS Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment manager of one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans. Learn more at lifelabs.com.
About Multiplex Genomics
Multiplex Genomics is a recent spin off from the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG), a global leader in species surveillance, at the University of Guelph. The CBG’s research capacity reflects the coupling of one of Canada’s largest genomics platforms with staff who bring world-class expertise in biodiversity science, DNA sequencing, and informatics. It analyzes millions of specimens per year to support biodiversity research around the world. Multiplex Genomics has used this expertise as a foundation to develop novel workflows that are advancing our capacity to track COVID-19 and its variants. In the longer-term, Multiplex Genomics will use molecular methods to diagnose a broader range of pathogens.