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Why Myriad Genetics Inc. Shares Jumped

By Sean Williams – Feb 18, 2014 at 4:37PM

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Myriad shares soar after a revolutionary diagnostic test delivers strikingly positive results.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Myriad Genetics (MYGN 0.51%), a molecular diagnostics developer, jumped as much as 11% after the company published data from its Prolaris diagnostic test in the Journal of Urology.

So what: Generally speaking, journal posts rarely raise much of a stir. However, Myriad noted that Prolaris, a 46-gene molecular diagnostic test that has been evaluated in more than 5,000 patients, accurately predicted which patients would have a "biochemical reoccurrence or metastatic disease following radical prostate surgery" based on their biopsies. In other words, this diagnostic tool is accurately predicting resectable prostate cancer patients' diagnosis, which would better allow physicians to gauge whether a wait-and-see approach is best, or if aggressive medical treatment is advised.

Now what: After last year losing some key patents on the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene analysis test known as BRACAnalysis, Myriad Genetics needed something good to happen -- and Prolaris might be it. The ability to personalize treatment for cancer patients is likely to become of the utmost importance over the next decade as physicians look for ways to get out ahead of a recurrence or diagnosis to improve patient quality of life and overall survival. Given that prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men (though not all prostate cancer is resectable), I'd say Myriad certainly deserves a spot on your watchlist after this data release.

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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