As expected, Myriad Genetics filed a lawsuit alleging that Quest Diagnostics' recent entry into the BRCA gene testing market for breast and ovarian cancers violates Myriad's patents.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 22 in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, came one week after Quest, one of the largest clinical laboratories in the U.S., announced plans to start selling tests for the BRCA genes. Those genes are associated with higher risks for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision
in June holding that naturally occurring DNA cannot be patented was expected to open up the BRCA testing market to new entrants.
Until then, Salt Lake City-based Myriad was the only provider of those tests. A spokesman for the company said it believes that patent claims for BRCA gene testing remain “valid and enforceable.”
Quest this month had sought a declaratory judgment that the company was not in violation of Myriad's patent claims.
“The action taken by Myriad was expected and is merely the latest in a pattern of behavior toward any test provider that introduces a new option in BRCA testing that can benefit patients,” a Quest spokeswoman said. “We are confident that our offering does not violate any valid Myriad claims.”
This is the third patent infringement lawsuit that Myriad has filed since the Supreme Court ruling. Myriad also has sued Ambry Genetics in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and Gene by Gene in Houston. All three companies have said they would offer BRCA testing at a lower cost than the roughly $3,340 that Myriad charges. Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee