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Myriad sues competitor overs cancer gene test

NEW YORK (AP) -- Myriad Genetics Inc. is suing two privately-held competitors to stop it from selling a genetic test that competes with Myriad's BRACAnalysis breast and ovarian cancer test.

Myriad says Ambry Genetics Corp. is infringing on 10 patents held by Myriad and its partners and Gene By Gene is infringing on nine patients. It said the patents cover primers, probes, tests, and methods of testing related to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad is asking the court for a preliminary injunction blocking sales of any products that infringe on its patents.

The BRACAnalysis test detects genetic mutations linked to increased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, and the test is the source of most of Myriad's revenue. Ambry and Gene By Gene both launched their tests on June 13 following a Supreme Court ruling. Gene By Gene's DNATraits business said its test will cost $995, less than a third of what BRACAnalysis testing costs.

Myriad, of Salt Lake City, is being joined in the lawsuit by the University of Utah, the University of Pennsylvania, the Hospital for Sick Children, and Endorecherche Inc.

Ambry, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., said it will defend itself against the lawsuit. Gene By Gene, which is based in Houston, said it had no comment because it hadn't been notified about the lawsuit. Both lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

On June 13 the Supreme Court ruled that companies cannot patent genes that are naturally found in the body, a ruling that analysts say will open the door for competing tests and additional scientific research. The court said synthetically created genetic material, called complementary or cDNA, can be patented. Myriad said it still holds 24 patents and has more than 500 patent claims related to the test.

Shares of Myriad Genetics rose $1.07, or 3.6 percent, to $30.91 on Wednesday.