Peter Meldrum, a co-founder and former CEO of Myriad Genetics, has died, the Wall Street Journal reports. He was 71.
Meldrum founded Myriad with Mark Skolnick, a University of Utah professor, in the early 1990s during the race to uncover cancer-linked genes, the Journal notes, adding that the company isolated the breast cancer-linked BRCA1 gene in 1994. This positioned the company to develop tests to gauge patients' risk of developing cancer as well as guide more personalized treatments, according to the Journal. The company was also at the center of a Supreme Court case, decided in 2013, that found that human genes cannot be patented. Meldrum retired in 2015.
The Journal notes that Myriad saw an uptick in sales after actress and director Angelina Jolie wrote in a New York Times op-ed in 2013 that she had undergone genetic testing to find she was at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and urged other women to seek testing.