Myriad celebrates positive study results for companion Dx for ovarian cancer

Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) is celebrating a bright point for its DNA cancer diagnostic after a study showed that the test could identify more ovarian cancer patients who could benefit from a new therapy.

The results, which were published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that Myriad’s myChoice HRD test could pinpoint twice as many patients who are a good fit for Tesaro’s ($TSRO) investigational oral PARP inhibitor, niraparib.

“Patients with ovarian cancer who tested positive with myChoice HRD experienced a clinically meaningful improvement in progression free survival (PFS),” Myriad CMO Johnathan Lancaster said in a statement. "We estimate that myChoice HRD identifies more than double the number of patients who may benefit compared to germline BRCA testing alone."

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The study included 553 patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who have responded to chemotherapy. Patients were divided into two groups based on the germline BRCA mutation. One group got tested with Myriad’s diagnostic, while the other did not.

Myriad’s test helped tack years onto patients’ lives, the study found. Patients who got tested and started on niraparib lived an average of 21 months. Individuals who didn’t get tested lived an average of 5 months.

The findings represent a win for Myriad, who has relied on biotech partnerships to boost business after losing a key battle over BRCA testing a few years ago. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated 5 of the company’s patents for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, opening the floodgates of competition from other testmakers.

Myriad didn’t cower in a corner, though. The Salt Lake City, UT-based company has worked hard to build its business, striking deals with biotech heavyweights such as AstraZeneca ($AZN), Tesaro and BioMarin ($BMRN) to develop cancer tests for the companies’ cancer drugs.

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