Myriad Survives Patent Validity Challenge but Faces Other Problems

August 24, 2011 - Myriad Genetics was able to hold onto its gene patents covering two human genes linked with breast cancer, but other problems are on the horizon, according to the New York Times.

Myriad's $3,340 genetic test for breast cancer risk is outdated, incomplete and too costly, some experts say - and it will soon be possible to sequence an individual's entire genome (some 22,000 genes) for less than the cost of Myriad's test on only two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

What's more, Myriad's patents begin expiring in 2014. But executives at the company say that will give them time to develop new technology and diversify their offerings beyond the infamous breast cancer test, which accounted for 88 percent of their income in the fiscal year that ended in June but which triggered a lawsuit by the ACLU and PUBPAT over whether genes should be patentable in the first place.

Going forward, Myriad reportedly plans to rely more on trade secrets gathered during its years of testing and less on patents.