Myriad soars despite rise of rivals

A little competition may have spurred Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) to call its attorneys, but it didn't mar the Utah diagnostics outfit's sales, as the company notched its 8th consecutive quarter with revenue growth above 20%.

Total sales jumped 31%, coming in at $174.1 million, and net income leapt about 51% to $44.1 million. Leading the charge, as ever, was Myriad's now-disputed BRACAnalysis cancer diagnostic, which accounted for about three-quarters of total revenue with its $129.6 million, a 19% increase over the same period last year.

However, perhaps most encouraging is BRACAnalysis' 12.3% growth over the last quarter. Over the summer, after the Supreme Court nullified 5 of Myriad's patents on isolated genes, rivals Ambry Genetics and Gene By Gene launched lower-cost BRCA tests of their own, and Myriad's sustained growth in its first quarter with some competition is a good sign for its place in the testing market.

And Myriad doesn't figure that'll change, expecting up to 16% revenue growth and $710 million in fiscal 2014, which began July 1. The company plans to launch three more molecular tests on the year, and Myriad is expecting FDA approval to use BRACAnalysis as a companion diagnostic for AstraZeneca's ($AZN) in-development olaparib, part of its efforts to expand in that growing field.

Then there's the courtroom drama: Myriad expects to spend about $10 million more on legal fees in the next fiscal year as it deals with three lawsuits related to BRCA genes, process patents and accusations of monopoly.

First, in July, Myriad filed patent infringement claims against Ambry and Gene By Gene, alleging the two violated intellectual property related to testing methods, not the individual gene patents nixed by the court. Then, this month, Ambry fired back with a suit of its own, saying Myriad is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act in its attempt to stop competitors from offering analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, effectively giving it a monopoly on the cancer tests.

- read Myriad's results

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