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Myriad took no prisoners on its way to the top of the molecular diagnostics field. That strategy is unlikely to endure.

Myriad Genetics began in 1991 as a small University of Utah startup interested in the then-novel arena of diagnostic genetic testing. After winning a highly publicized race to sequence the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes, the company obtained patents on the gene sequences and methods of using them to determine cancer risk. The patents were broad and interlocking, covering BRCA genomic DNA, cDNA, methods of diagnosis and systems detecting mutations. Myriad also filed for diagnostic 'toolbox' patents, including two claiming any DNA primer or probe sharing 15 nucleotides with the wild-type BRCA1 or BRCA2 it first sequenced. These patents became the heart of the company.


32 Nature Biotechnology 620 (July 2014)