Court Upholds Myriad Genetics' Patent Claim

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In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, a patent claim involving Myriad Genetics' (NASDAQ: MYGN  ) complementary DNA, or cDNA, has been upheld, according to a company announcement. In addition to Myriad's patent victory, however, five of its isolated DNA-related claims were denied by the court.

While not at issue in the Supreme Court's ruling, Myriad stated the Supreme Court also noted its BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 as method claims, supporting an earlier circuit court statement that said, "As the first party with knowledge of the [BRCA1 and BRCA2] sequences, Myriad was in an excellent position to claim applications to that knowledge." Myriad's BRACAnalysis testing has been utilized "by more than a million women" to determine a patient's risk of contracting ovarian and breast cancer, according to the statement.

Regarding the court's decision to uphold its cDNA claim, and reinforce the method claims relating to BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, Myriad president and CEO Peter Meldrum said the ruling, "underscored the patent eligibility of our method claims, ensuring strong intellectual property protection for our BRACAnalysis test moving forward."

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  • Report this Comment On June 14, 2013, at 8:46 AM, cal8 wrote:

    This interpretation of the ruling is flawed.

    MYGN lost the case. Four diagnostic companies have already announced that they will be doing BRCA1 and 2 testing. MYGN was getting 89% gross profit margins on this testing. If they go down to 50% and lose no volume (impossible to imagine this rosy a scenario for MYGN) they lose all profitability.

    Within 6 months revenues will fall in half and the profit will turn to a loss. How can anyone consider this a win for the company? No diagnostic tests are based on cDNA (to get this you would need to reverse transcribe mRNA that is extracted from a tissue, this is not how these tests are done.)

    MYGN management is going to get sued if they continue trying to spin this in a positive manner.

  • Report this Comment On June 14, 2013, at 2:16 PM, xanthoptica wrote:

    This is a really ambiguous ruling, declining the native DNA patents but upholding the cDNA patents. It exposes a real difficulty in drawing a line between natural and synthetic for biotech patents. If you'd like to read my blog post on this case, try it here:

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 12:12 PM, skfinston wrote:

    Essentially, the Myriad decision seeks to differentiate between natural phenomenon, ie the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene information and location in the human body, and novel gene-related R&D and inventions, like the famous Chakrabarty molecule from Diamond v. Chakrabarty (1980).

    This brief video (02:53) on latest research of Ananda M. Chakrabarty illustrates the point well:

    More details on the specifics of the case available at

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