updated 12/9/2010 2:15:21 AM ET 2010-12-09T07:15:21

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq:MYGN) today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire proprietary technology for the diagnosis and prognosis of malignant melanoma using highly validated genetic markers from Melanoma Diagnostics, Inc. of Altadena, California. Under the agreement, Myriad has the right to commercialize all tests derived from the technology on a worldwide basis in exchange for upfront fees and contingent payments based upon the commercial success of the products.   

Although melanoma is the seventh most common cancer in United States, its diagnosis remains problematic in a large number of cases. There are approximately 3 million skin biopsies done every year and physicians estimate that up to 450,000 of those cases have an ambiguous diagnosis. In fact, failure to accurately diagnose melanoma is one of the leading causes for medical litigation in the United States. Over-diagnosing melanoma can lead to significant patient trauma and additional, unnecessary healthcare costs. Misdiagnosing melanoma is one of the leading causes for medical litigation in the United States.

"The tests that may be developed from the technology that we are acquiring may provide physicians with important information in the differential diagnosis of melanoma from otherwise benign moles, and in understanding the aggressiveness of the patient's disease," said Mark Capone, President of Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. "This will expand our presence in the solid tumor market as we develop a dermatology commercialization team that also will market our existing Melaris® test for melanoma predisposition."

The clinical validations for the melanoma genetic markers were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Kashani-Sabet, a world leader in melanoma research and the founder of Melanoma Diagnostics, Inc. A large training and validation set (n=693) measured the expression levels of five genes by immunohistochemistry to accurately differentiate patients with melanomas from those with benign nevi (sensitivity = 95%, specificity = 91%). In a second publication in Clinical Cancer Research, Dr. Kashani-Sabet demonstrated in a separate training and validation set (n=536) that the proprietary genetic markers were the most significant factor in predicting disease-specific survival (p=0.01) when compared to other clinical factors.

"The sale of our technology to Myriad with their existing substantial capabilities is a tremendous opportunity for the future development and commercialization of novel molecular diagnostic tests," said Dr. Kevin Scanlon, CEO of Melanoma Diagnostics. "Pathologists and oncologists may have access to key diagnostic and prognostic tests that will shed light on the complex nature of melanoma, enabling them to make more confident clinical decisions that should improve the quality of patient care and lower the cost of disease management."

About Melanoma Diagnostics, Inc.

Melanoma Diagnostics, Inc. is a molecular diagnostic company dedicated to advancing technology related to diagnosis and therapies applicable to the care of patients who are suspected of having melanoma.  Melanoma Diagnostic's news and other information are available on the Company's Web site at www.melanomadiagnostics.com .

About Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a leading molecular diagnostic company focused on developing and marketing novel predictive medicine, personalized medicine and prognostic medicine products. Myriad's news and other information are available on the Company's Web site at www.myriad.com .

The Myriad Genetics, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6336

Myriad, the Myriad logo, BRACAnalysis, Colaris, Colaris AP, Melaris, TheraGuide, Prezeon, OnDose, and Prolaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the United States and foreign countries. MYGN-G

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to the tests that may be developed from the technology that Myriad is acquiring and their utility to provide physicians with important information in the differential diagnosis of melanoma from otherwise benign moles, and in understanding the aggressiveness of the patient's disease; the expansion of Myriad's presence in the solid tumor market; and the development of a dermatology commercialization team that also will market Myriad's existing Melaris® test for melanoma predisposition. These "forward-looking statements" are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the risk that sales and profit margins of our existing molecular diagnostic products may decline or will not continue to increase at historical rates; the risk that we may be unable to develop or achieve commercial success for additional molecular diagnostic products in a timely manner, or at all; the risk that licenses to the technology underlying our molecular diagnostic products and any future products are terminated or cannot be maintained on satisfactory terms; risks related to delays or other problems with manufacturing our products or operating our laboratory testing facilities; risks related to public concern over our products; risks related to regulatory requirements or enforcement in the United States and foreign countries and changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems; uncertainties about our ability to obtain new corporate collaborations and acquire new technologies on satisfactory terms, if at all; the development of competing products and services; the risk that we or our licensors may be unable to protect the proprietary technologies underlying our products; the risk of patent-infringement claims or challenges of our patents; risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the United States and internationally; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in Item 1A in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2010, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Myriad undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

CONTACT: Myriad Genetics, Inc.
         Suzanne Barton, Director, Investor Relations
         (801) 584-1138
         sbarton@myriad.com

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