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Supreme Court Throws Out Some Myriad Patents, Upholds Others

The US Supreme Court struck down some of Myriad Genetics’ patents today on its breast and ovarian cancer test. But the Salt Lake City company is focusing on what the ruling left intact. Myriad officials say the company still has 24 different patents. 

Myriad Genetics' test known as BRACAnalysis determines if a patient has an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. It’s been used by more than a million women, most famously by actress Angelina Jolie whose test results led to a high-profile decision to have a double mastectomy.

Up until now, Myriad sells the only gene test of its kind. The high court’s decision may open up the market for competitors, but Myriad still has some protection. While the Supreme Court ruled that naturally-occurring DNA was not patentable, the ruling says that synthetically-created DNA can be patented “because it is not naturally occurring.'' Also, the company’s method claims were not challenged. Myriad Chief Executive Officer Peter Meldrum said in a statement that the ruling ensures “strong intellectual property protection of the BRACAnalysis test moving forward.”

Investors had mixed reactions to the news. Myriad stock unexpectedly jumped up more than 10 percent on the NASDAQ after the ruling, then dropped to close down 5.6 percent.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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