Myriad wins European patent appeal on cancer test

NEW YORK Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:50am EST

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NEW YORK Nov 20 (Reuters) - Myriad Genetics Inc (MYGN.O)has won an appeal at the European Patent Office, reinstating its patent protection on a genetic testing method for diagnosing cancer risk.

The appeals board at the Munich-based agency said on Thursday the patent for diagnosing a predisposition for cancer was to be maintained, although in an amended form.

Myriad, a biotechnology company based in Salt Lake City, first made headlines in 1994 by discovering a hereditary breast cancer gene. It markets a test for harmful variants of the gene.

The granting of the European patent had been opposed by a number of parties including several French research institutes and various national centers for human genetics.

The patent office had revoked the patent in May 2004, leading to the appeal by Myriad. The revised patent is more limited in scope than the original and does not contain claims directed to the BRCA1 gene itself, the patent office said in a statement. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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