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Myriad Genetics settles with BRCA test competitors

02 February 2015

By Cait McDonagh

Appeared in BioNews 788

Myriad Genetics has settled litigation with competitors who had been using genetic testing for breast cancer genes. The molecular diagnostics company agreed with a number of companies not to proceed with claims for patent infringement in return for ceasing any outstanding counterclaims. It is in the process of reaching a settlement with those that are remaining.

Myriad was attempting to defend patents on genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The US Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that human genes were products of nature and could not be patented, invalidating some of Myriad's patent claims. However, the company attempted to enforce other patents against six competitors offering or about to offer genetic tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, including LabCorp, Invitae and Ambry Genetics. A number of these companies responded by issuing counter-claims against Myriad.

In December 2014 the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an earlier decision to deny Myriad an injunction what would have prevented Ambry from selling the test. Since then, Myriad has approached other parties about settling the claims, including agreements not to start fresh claims under other existing patents.

Ronald Rogers, spokesman for the company, said that after December's ruling 'we decided it was in the best interest of the company to settle these matters'.

Myriad is developing new types of test to reduce its reliance on the BCRA test, including a more comprehensive test of 25 genes linked to cancer risk.

ScienceInsider | 28 January 2015
Pathway Genomics (press release) | 23 January 2015
New York Times | 27 January 2015
GenomeWeb | 26 January 2015


23 May 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Myriad Genetics has been hit by a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of four patients who are seeking a right of access to all their genetic information held by the company...
14 March 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
Tania Simoncelli's narrates the story of the successful legal challenge against Myriad Genetics' BRCA patents, but may have missed an opportunity to consider the broader impact of gene patenting...
12 October 2015 - by Cait McDonagh 
An isolated gene sequence cannot be patented, Australia's highest court has unanimously ruled. It is the latest and final decision in litigation that has lasted over five years...
22 June 2015 - by Paul Waldron 
Australia's highest court will decide whether isolated molecules of DNA linked to a gene mutation associated with an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers are patentable under Australian law....
27 April 2015 - by Dr Indrayani Ghangrekar 
A US company has announced a low-cost genetic test for breast cancer...

08 September 2014 - by Matthew Thomas 
Gene sequences isolated from the human body are patentable, according to a ruling by the Australian federal court...
23 June 2014 - by Alice Plein 
Pathway Genomics, a biotech company based in San Diego, announced it will 'vigorously defend itself' against a patent infringement suit filed by Myriad Genetics and others...
17 March 2014 - by Patricia Cassidy 
Myriad Genetics has failed to obtain a preliminary injunction to prevent a competitor, Ambry Genetics, from offering BRCA-related genetic testing products...
15 July 2013 - by Ruth Retassie 
Myriad Genetics is suing two other companies who are offering genetic tests for BRCA1 and BRAC2 gene mutations for patent infringement...

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