Recently, Myriad, a biotechnology company located in Utah, filed patent infringement claims against three companies: Ambry Genetics; Gene by Gene; and Quest Diagnostics. Myriad developed a genetic test (BRCA test) that assesses a woman’s risk for developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Until June, 2013, Myriad held gene patents that allowed it to maintain a monopoly over BRCA testing. For the fiscal year ending June 30, approximately 85% of Myriad’s profits, which totaled over $613.2 million, derived from BRCA testing. However, in June the Supreme Court determined that some of Myriad’s patents were invalid, and paved the way for other companies to enter the market.
Two closely held corporations, Ambry Genetics and Gene by Gene, were the first companies to announce their plans to sell BRCA tests. Myriad filed suit against them both. Most recently, the largest operator of laboratories in the U.S., Quest Diagnostics (Quest), announced its plan to enter the market. On October 10, Quest filed suit against Myriad in federal court in Santa Ana, California, in anticipation of a patent infringement suit against it by Myriad, based on Myriad’s litigious history. Myriad filed suit against Quest on October 22. All three companies plan to sell the tests at a lower price than Myriad’s.