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Myriad to Present Cancer Test Study

Zacks Equity Research

Myriad Genetics (MYGN) will present a study on a lung cancer prognostic test at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. The study assessed the prognostic value of cell cycle progression (‘CCP’) score for 256 patients with stage I and II lung adenocarcinoma. This was used in predicting patient outcomes and correlation between the CCP score and certain factors such as age, stage of disease, gender, smoking status, tumor size and treatment.

The test would help in the treatment of patients suffering from lung cancer by assessing the aggressiveness of the disease. Myriad is targeting a 2013 launch of the lung cancer prognosis test with an estimated market size of $100 million. Another test slated for a 2013 launch is the melanoma test, which determines whether a skin biopsy is benign or malignant, from in-licensing of technology from Melanoma Diagnostics.

Myriad is targeting the expansion of its pipeline into diverse indications including oncology, women’s health, urology, dermatology, autoimmune and inflammatory disease and neuroscience. To achieve this objective the company has decided to pursue internal developments, in-licensing of technologies and suitable acquisitions.

The company has entered into a deal with Crescendo Biosciences, which in due course can complement its portfolio by adding autoimmune and inflammatory disease products. Over the recent past, the company has acquired RBM and in-licensed technologies from Chronix Biomedical and Melanoma Diagnostics. At present, the company has 13 products under development at various stages.

Myriad is also aiming at establishing itself as a strong player in the companion diagnostic market. The company has agreements with several pharmaceutical companies including Abbott Laboratories (ABT) and AstraZeneca (AZN). Myriad now has exposure to RBM’s proprietary protein technology and 550 immunoassays, placing it as a leader in this arena. Through several collaborations, RBM has obtained companion diagnostic rights to many of the drugs under development. These developments should augur well for the long-term development of Myriad.

We have a Neutral recommendation on Myriad Genetics. The stock retains a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) in the short term.

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