Myriad Genetics Sues Ambry to Thwart Rival Cancer Test

Myriad Genetics Inc., a provider of tests for breast cancer risk, filed a lawsuit today to shut a competitor that set up shop last month after a mixed U.S. Supreme Court ruling on patents for genetic material.

Ambry Genetics, a closely held company in Aliso Viejo, California, announced June 13 it would offer the breast cancer tests hours after a high court ruling that invalidated some of Myriad’s patent claims on genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

Myriad said the Ambry tests infringe 10 other patents it owns or licenses on the testing process that weren’t part of that Supreme Court case. The other owners of the patents, comprising the University of Utah and University of Pennsylvania, Ontario’s Hospital for Sick Children and Endorecherche Inc., also joined in the suit against Ambry.

The patent owners “have been damaged and have suffered irreparable injury due to the defendant’s acts of infringement, and will continue to suffer irreparable injury” unless stopped by the court, they said in the complaint.

Myriad said in the complaint it’s invested more than $500 million to create a diagnostic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer cases related to the genes it discovered, which are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. The efforts “have revolutionized patient care and provided medical diagnosis and treatment options never thought possible,” Myriad said in the complaint.

Ambry’s rival test will cause a loss of revenue from its tests, which in turn will mean lower royalty payments for the patent owners, according to the complaint. They are seeking compensation and an order that Ambry provide to the patent owners, including Myriad, all products that infringe the patents so they can be destroyed.

Myriad owns five of the patents and is exclusive licensee of the other five.

The case is University of Utah Research Foundation v. Ambry Genetics, 13-640, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net.

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