Quest Diagnostics, Myriad Genetics settle gene-patent litigation

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Feb 9, 2015

MADISON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Quest Diagnostics announced Monday that it and Myriad Genetics Inc. have reached an agreement that will end litigation over patents on two genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.


Under the agreement, Quest and Myriad and its co-parties in the litigation -- the University of Utah Research Foundation, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, HSC Research and Development Limited Partnership and Endorecherche Inc. -- will dismiss their lawsuits, claims, counterclaims and disputes related to Myriad’s patent claims on BRCA1 and BRCA2.


The two human genes indicate a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.


Also under the deal, Myriad has provided Quest and its physician, hospital and other customers and business partners a covenant not to sue with respect to the patents at issue.


Quest -- a provider of clinical laboratory services -- has the right to continue to offer its BRCAvantage and other BRCA-related testing services in their present form, and to develop and provide additional genomic testing services in the future based on the portfolio of patents asserted by Myriad in this case.


“We believe strongly that patients should have options in BRCA testing,” said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., senior vice president, chief medical officer and group executive for diagnostic solutions businesses at Quest.


“With the resolution of this matter, we can now devote our focus without distraction to serving the many patients who can benefit from our BRCAvantage offerings.”


The settlement is one of several that Utah-based Myriad recently has reached over the company’s gene patents.


Myriad filed lawsuits against several laboratories that began offering BRCA genetic testing after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013. In Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. Myriad Genetics Inc. et al., the nation’s high court concluded that human genes can’t be patented.


In October 2013, Quest Diagnostics introduced BRCAvantage, a suite of next-generation sequencing services that help identify genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer based on mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.


Early last year, a federal district court in Utah denied Myriad’s request to stop another laboratory from offering testing.


And in December the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that Myriad’s patents are invalid under the Patent Act.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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