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European Patent Office Revokes Myriad Genetics BRCA1 Patent

NEW YORK, May 19 (GenomeWeb News) - The European Patent Office yesterday revoked a patent linked to Myriad Genetic's pioneering BRCA1 molecular diagnostic.


The decision, which Myriad plans to appeal, means that Myriad will not be able to sell the breast cancer test to any of the 28 European countries that follow the EPO's policies. The company has never sold the test in Europe, and as such derives no revenue from that market. Myriad has also not prevented governments or other labs from performing the test on their own, according to a news report.


The company will continue to market the test in the United States, where it sells for around $3,000 as part of a BRCA1 and BRCA2 panel.


"After a public hearing of all parties to the opposition proceedings against the [Myriad] patent, a panel composed of three patent examiners and a legal expert concluded that the grounds for opposition prejudiced the maintenance of the patent," the EPO said on its website. "As a consequence it had to be revoked."

The patent, which can be seen here, was granted in early 2001 to Myriad, the University of Utah Research Foundation, and the United States.


The patent "has been the subject of public discussion ever since," the EPO said. "Oppositions to the patent were filed in October 2001 by a number of parties including the Institut Curie," a French research organization.

The EPO said a "written statement of grounds for the opposition" will be published "in the next few months."


Myriad said it plans to appeal the ruling, according to the New York Times.


William Hockett, a spokesman for Myriad, said the move by the EPO is "another step in a long administrative review process," according to the Times.


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