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Myriad Moving Eight Protein-Based Tests to Market; Priorities Include AD, Kidney Damage, Colon Cancer

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This story originally ran on Nov. 4.

Myriad Genetics has eight protein-based tests progressing toward commercialization, company officials said this week on a conference call discussing the firm's earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

These offerings, which are being developed through the company's Myriad RBM division – formed by the $80 million purchase this April of protein-biomarker discovery firm Rules-Based Medicine (PM 4/29/2011) – include five tests that have been designated as high priority for commercialization, Myriad CEO Peter Meldrum said on the call.

According to Meldrum, these five tests include: a product for early detection of kidney damage in diabetes patients; a diagnostic for distinguishing between bipolar disorder and major depression; a test for the early detection of kidney transplant rejection; a test for differentiating between patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease; and a blood-based diagnostic for the early detection of colon cancer.

Meldrum also noted opportunities in protein-based testing presented by Myriad's investment in molecular diagnostic firm Crescendo Bioscience, which specializes in tests for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. In September, Myriad made a $25 million debt investment in Crescendo that gives it a three-year option to purchase the company (PM 9/9/2011).

Calling the investment an "attractive, low-risk strategy to position Myriad in the autoimmune and inflammatory disease markets," Meldrum highlighted the firm's initial product, Vectra DA – a laboratory-developed test that measures levels of 12 proteins in blood to assess rheumatoid arthritis activity.

For the quarter, the first of the company's 2012 fiscal year, Myriad RBM generated $6.5 million in revenues, which, Meldrum noted, trended toward the upper end of the company's full-year revenue guidance for the division of between $24 and $26 million.

The company's total revenues were $110.5 million for the quarter, up 20 percent from $91.9 million in the year-ago period.