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Back To Vidyya Myriad Genetics Discovers Novel Prostate Cancer Gene

Company Goal Is To "Uncover The Genetic Basis Of Prostate Cancer"

Myriad Genetics, Inc. has announced it has discovered a novel prostate cancer susceptibility gene, which resulted in a $1 million payment to Myriad from Schering-Plough Corporation under terms of the Companies' 1997 research collaboration agreement.

To identify this gene, researchers at Myriad employed a proprietary form of linkage analysis that involves tracking a disease susceptibility gene to its location on a specific chromosome. Based on its analysis of prostate cancer families, Myriad determined that inherited mutations in this gene may significantly increase the risk of prostate cancer. The mutation profile of the new prostate cancer gene indicates the potential to form the basis of a prostate cancer susceptibility test.

The discovery of this gene will allow Myriad scientists to more thoroughly investigate the full spectrum of genetic mutations associated with prostate cancer and the role they play in the development of the disease. Furthermore, the gene has been included in a ProNet® pathway discovery program to identify additional genes within the pathway that may provide drug development opportunities.

"The combination of elegant science and the Company's vast genomic resources have again produced outstanding results," said Peter Meldrum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Myriad Genetics, Inc. "The delivery of this gene to Schering-Plough provides great potential for the development of both diagnostic and therapeutic products for a devastating disease, which kills 40,000 men a year."

Prostate cancer accounts for more than 35% of all cancer incidents in men. In excess of 200,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone, of which 5 -10% are thought to be genetically determined.

The alliance between Myriad and Schering-Plough was established specifically to uncover the genetic basis of prostate cancer. According to the agreement, Myriad retains all diagnostic product rights to this gene and will receive a royalty on all sales of relevant therapeutic products developed by Schering-Plough. United States and foreign patents have been filed for this newly discovered gene.

Historically, Myriad has achieved unparalleled success in the identification and characterization of major disease causing genes. These discoveries include genes for hereditary breast cancer, ovarian cancer, brain cancer, melanoma, diabetes, heart disease, and now prostate cancer. The Company has made substantial advances in the process of gene cloning and has been awarded several U.S. patents for technologies that enhance and accelerate gene discovery.

The discovery of the prostate cancer gene culminates a research project between Myriad and its prostate cancer family database and linkage collaborators, which include research groups led by Drs. Lisa Cannon-Albright at the University of Utah, Johanna Rommens at the University of Toronto and Jacques Simard and Fernand Labrie at Laval University Hospital and Endorecherche.

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products that are based on the use of genomic and proteomic technologies. The Company has established two wholly owned subsidiaries -- Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which develops and intends to market therapeutic compounds, and Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc., which develops and markets proprietary molecular diagnostic services and has introduced products in the fields of predictive medicine and personalized medicine. The Company has established strategic alliances with Bayer, Eli Lilly, Hitachi, Monsanto, Novartis, Roche, Schering AG and Schering-Plough. Interested parties can view the Myriad Web site at www.myriad.com.


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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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