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Utah's Intermountain Healthcare, Myriad Genetics sign research pact

Published May 22, 2012 9:24 am

Accord • Intermountain Healthcare will help assess value of diagnostic tests.
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Utah's Myriad Genetics and Intermountain Healthcare have signed a research agreement to evaluate the effectiveness of Myriad's diagnostic tests in improving the care and treatment of patients.

The first project under the new collaboration, which is expected to last about a year, will be to "further test the utility" of Myriad's prostate cancer test.

Myriad's test, marketed under the name Polaris, looks at the genetic makeup of prostate cancer cells and measures the presence or absence of markers that govern the aggressiveness of tumor growth.

"This is the eighth clinical study involving our Polaris test," said Peter Meldrum, Myriad's president and CEO. "It is important for us to validate the effectiveness of our test multiple times in various populations of patients."

Meldrum said Myriad has worked with Intermountain Healthcare before, noting that five to six years ago the two joined to identify genes associated with various diseases. He anticipates the association will continue because Myriad has 13 new tests under development, including one that will use biochemical markers to determine if a patient is bipolar or suffering from major depression.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Myriad to further research across a number of diseases in an effort to improve patient care," Dr. Brent Wallace, Intermountain's chief medical officer, said in a statement.

He said the Polaris study, which will involve the analysis of biopsy samples from 200 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer, should help define the clinical benefits of the test.

"This will assist in helping men diagnosed with prostate cancer to understand the aggressiveness of their disease and make better informed decisions about appropriate treatment," Wallace said.

Although the financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed, Meldrum said Myriad will pay for the analysis of the biopsies, which will take place in Myriad's laboratories. Intermountain will provide patient information.


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