Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Biotech ads aim to educate women about cancer-causing gene, test

Myriad Genetics Launches Awareness Advertising Campaign to Educate Women About Hereditary Risks of Breast and Ovarian Cancers

Market Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 10 / MARKET WIRE/ --

Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN) announced today that it has launched a comprehensive public awareness advertising campaign -- known as the BRACAnalysis® Awareness Campaign -- designed to reach women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and the healthcare providers that treat them.

It is estimated that there are more than a million people in the United States with inherited genetic mutations predisposing them to an increased risk of cancer. It is estimated that fewer than 3 percent of them know it. This campaign is being initiated with the hope that women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer will contact their physicians to learn more about their risk of developing cancer and the actions they can take to reduce their risk.

"The purpose of the BRACAnalysis public awareness campaign is to save lives," said Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., president of Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. "The risks of breast and ovarian cancers are very high in individuals carrying mutations in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Through a blood test, BRACAnalysis identifies high-risk women so they can take steps to reduce their risk for these cancers."

The public awareness campaign being conducted across the Northeast also includes physician education and outreach, consumer education, and public relations, while the advertising component is being conducted specifically in four areas, namely Boston, Hartford, Providence and New York City, and will continue through the spring of 2008. The company is currently focused on reaching out to women and their families in the Northeast as the region has numerous resources, including physicians, genetic counselors and other healthcare providers that are able to provide hereditary risk assessments, genetic testing and counseling services for women with a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

The BRACAnalysis advertisements are intended to be informative, factual, positive and empowering with the goal of encouraging women to think about their family history of breast and ovarian cancers. The advertisements, which also aim to inform women that there are steps they can take to reduce their breast and ovarian cancer risks, direct women to talk to their doctor and visit  or call 1-866-BRAC-NOW for more information. Through both the Web site and toll-free number, women will be able to access general information about management of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers and will be encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider for additional information and follow-up.

Adds Critchfield, "We are committed to working with healthcare providers around the country to provide useful resources for them to offer hereditary risk assessment, counseling and genetic testing to their patients."

About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome

According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 2.3 million women who have a history of breast cancer. Nearly 180,000 women will learn that they have breast cancer and more than 22,000 women will learn that they have ovarian cancer this year. Up to 10 percent of these women will have a hereditary risk factor that predisposed them to developing cancers.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that normally work to prevent breast and ovarian cancer. But in some cases, a person inherits, from either parent, a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene with an alteration. This alteration or mutation interferes with the normal activity of the gene, making a person more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer is most often associated with families that have any one of the following: breast cancer before age 50; ovarian cancer at any age; both breast and ovarian cancer; 2 primary breast cancers; male breast cancer at any age; specific ethnic groups, particularly Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry; or a previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation in the family.

According to estimates, women with an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 56 to 87 percent risk to develop breast cancer by age 70, whereas the risk for women in the general population is only about 7 percent. Additionally, women with an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 27 to 44 percent risk to develop ovarian cancer by age 70, whereas the risk is less than two percent for women in the general population.

About BRACAnalysis®

BRACAnalysis® is a blood test which is sent to Myriad Genetic Laboratories where a sophisticated analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene sequences is performed. The test detects alterations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to help determine a woman's risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with HBOC syndrome. In most cases, the test is covered by insurance.

About Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development and marketing of novel therapeutic and molecular diagnostic products. Myriad's news and other information are available on the Company's Web site at BRACAnalysis® is a registered trademark of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to the launch of the Awareness Advertising Campaign; the focus, scope and duration of the campaign; the ability of the campaign to reach women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer and the healthcare providers that treat them; and the ability of the campaign to educate women about the risks of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our inability to further identify, develop and achieve commercial success for new products and technologies; our ability to discover drugs that are safer and more efficacious than our competitors; our ability to develop molecular diagnostic products that help assess which patients are subject to greater risk of developing diseases and who would therefore benefit from new preventive therapies; the possibility of delays in the research and development necessary to select drug development candidates and delays in clinical trials; the risk that clinical trials may not result in marketable products; the risk that we may be unable to successfully finance and secure regulatory approval of and market our drug candidates, or that clinical trials will be completed on the timelines we have estimated; uncertainties about our ability to obtain new corporate collaborations and acquire new technologies on satisfactory terms, if at all; the development of competing products and services; our ability to protect our proprietary technologies; patent-infringement claims; risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the United States and internationally; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in Item 1A in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2006, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Myriad undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

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