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Myriad Unveils myPath Melanoma

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Soon after the release of its first quarter fiscal 2014 result, Myriad Genetics (MYGN) launched its much talked molecular diagnostic test myPath Melanoma. Meeting the targeted time of launch, this test marks Myriad’s foray into the area of dermatology through efficient detection of malignancy in skin biopsy.

Two independent clinical studies have already been conducted to examine this test. As per the findings which were recently published at the American Society of Dermatopathology, myPath Melanoma provides 90% accuracy in distinguishing malignant melanoma from benign pigmented skin lesions in a variety of subtypes. Furthermore, these positive outcomes have recently been confirmed in an independent clinical validation study to be presented at the American Academy of Dermatology in Mar 2014.

Each year, nearly 76,000 new cases are diagnosed with melanoma, a fatal type of skin cancer, with death-figures tolling 9,000 annually. Malignancy in suspicious skin lesions are difficult to diagnose. Myriad’s newly launched test promises to make such diagnosis easier and is thus expected to be widely accepted among healthcare providers. With an expected market worth of $1 billion through 2018 (based on the average selling price of $1,500), the offering is expected to generate incremental revenues for Myriad going forward.

The current fiscal so far has been quite eventful for Myriad. Last month the company launched Myriad myPlan Lung Cancer catering to leading oncologists throughout the U.S. Data presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer showed that patients with high-risk myPlan Lung Cancer scores resulted in approximately twice the number of lung-cancer deaths over a five-year period, compared to patients with a low-risk score.

In September, the company’s myRisk Hereditary Cancer test was successfully launched in the U.S. for eight major hereditary cancer including breast, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate, gastric and melanoma. Myriad presented data at the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer. The data demonstrated that the test significantly improved the sensitivity of colon cancer risk assessment by identifying 60% more harmful mutations in 1,133 patients who met the clinical criteria for hereditary colon cancer testing.

We believe that these developments should augur well for the long-term development of the company. With encouraging results from the company’s major cancer tests and forthcoming collaborations, we believe Myriad Genetics will tread steadily on the growth path in the near term.

Currently, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Stocks in the MedTech sector that are worth a look include Align Technologies Inc., (ALGN), Cardinal Health, Inc. (CAH) and Mindray Medical International Limited (MR), each carrying a Zacks  Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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