Myriad Sues Competitors Over BRCA Test Offerings
Myriad Genetics is undeterred. Just weeks after losing key portions of a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the patenting of human genetic material, Myriad has sued two other laboratories over their plans to offer competing breast cancer tests at prices far lower than what it has been charging. The Salt Lake City-based Myriad has filed […]
Myriad Genetics is undeterred. Just weeks after losing key portions of a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the patenting of human genetic material, Myriad has sued two other laboratories over their plans to offer competing breast cancer tests at prices far lower than what it has been charging. The Salt Lake City-based Myriad has filed two separate suits in federal court in Utah. They allege Houston-based Gene by Gene and Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Ambry Genetics are infringing on their still-existing patents and processes for handling and testing modified genetic material. Along with Myriad, the co-plaintiffs are the Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Utah, and Quebec-based Endorecherche. Myriad spokesperson Ronald Rogers said Gene by Gene and Ambry’s planned tests infringe “on 10 patents covering synthetic primers, probes and arrays, as well as methods of testing, related to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.” Both Gene by Gene and Ambry announced they would offer BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests just hours after the Supreme Court last month made a unanimous ruling that invalidated Myriad’s patents on unaltered DNA. In Gene by Gene’s case, it priced its test at $795, or about one-quarter of the $3,000 retail price Myriad had been charging for its BRCA testing. The high court did rule that Myriad could retain its patents on complementary, or cDNA, that has been altered for testing purposes. The lawsuits filed by Myriad do not contain any specific information as to how Ambry and Gene by Gene have infringed on their patents. Ambry to Respond ‘Aggressively’ Ambry said in a statement that Myriad had been overly litigious in protecting its “monopoly” on BRCA testing—an issue settled by the Supreme Court ruling. It said that it would respond aggressively to the lawsuit. “Ambry Genetics supports the Supreme Court’s decision and will vigorously defend its position,” said Charles Dunlop, chief executive officer of Ambry Genetics. “We have had an overwhelming response from our clients seeking an alternative laboratory to perform BRCA testing and Ambry is fully committed to supporting our clients and patients moving forward.” Gene by Gene officials did not immediately wish to comment, saying they had not yet been served with Myriad’s lawsuit. Rogers said Myriad would seek a restraining order against Gene by Gene and Ambry from marketing their competing tests. The company also seeks damages and delivery to Myriad of any products and devices they have developed that infringe on their patents. Additionally, Rogers asserted that the tests offered by rivals were not as high a quality as Myriad’s and would not be turned around as rapidly, although he stressed that was not part the company’s allegations of patent infringements. Rogers would not say whether Myriad had any plans to cut its BRCA pricing in response to the Supreme Court decision and the test offerings. However, the company posted a pledge on its Web site to provide financial assistance and free tests to patients who couldn’t afford its assays and that it would not interfere with other labs performing testing to confirm results provided by Myriad.