Myriad Soars Higher on Celeb Clout

Zacks

Shares of Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN) touched a new 52-week high of $34.70 on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 following news out of Hollywood. Academy Award winning Hollywood star Angelina Jolie had tested positive for a ‘faulty’ version of the BRCA1 gene, which is exclusively licensed with the company. Subsequently, the stock climbed 2.99% higher to close at $34.10 on Tuesday.

Drivers That Triggered Momentum

The film star’s disclosure that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy to avoid the risk of hereditary breast cancer is the latest in a flurry of news that puts Myriad in the spotlight. Of late, the company has been in the news, following the legal claims that challenge its patent landscape for its flagship product – Bracanalysis test.

The Bracanalysis test provides a comprehensive analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to assess a woman's risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. A woman testing positive for a deleterious mutation with the Bracanalysis test has an 82% risk of developing breast cancer and a 44% risk of developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime. According to the Jolie’s revelation in The New York Times, she carried the ‘faulty’ BRCA1 gene. The inherited genetic mutation put her at an 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer compared with the average risk of 65%.

The public disclosure is likely to increase awareness about Myriad’s Bracanalysis test, which contributed 74% of total revenues in the most recent quarter. Another upside was the company’s stellar earnings performance in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Last week, Myriad posted earnings beat of 17.9% over the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company also raised its outlook for the ongoing fiscal reflecting robust growth trend.

Given the string of positive estimate revisions for the ongoing and next fiscal, the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock warrants a look. Other players such as Celgene Corporation (CELG), Alkermes plc (ALKS) and Illumina Inc. (ILMN), carrying a Zacks Rank #2, are also worth considering.

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