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Analysts said that this week's Supreme Court decision to order a new review of patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. is not bad news for Myriad, and its shares should trade higher.
THE OPINION: On Monday the Supreme Court ordered a federal appeals court to conduct a new review of a case that challenges two patents held by Myriad. The company has patents on genetic mutations that are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, and its BRACAnalysis test looks for those mutations. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was ordered look at the case again in light of a ruling the Supreme Court made on Wednesday.
In that case, the court threw out patent claims that were used in a blood test. It said the patents were not valid because they were based on the laws of nature, and those laws cannot be patented.
However analysts say that the two cases are different and the appeals court will probably not change its decision in the Myriad case.
"The Supreme Court's rationale in the Mayo v Prometheus decision does not seem to suggest a conflicting precedent to the relevance of Myriad Genetics' composition claims," said Jefferies & Co. analyst Jon Wood. Wood said the appeals court could make a new decision late in 2012 or early in 2013. After that, Myriad or its opponents can then appeal to the Supreme Court again. If the court hears the case, a final ruling may come in spring 2014.
Myriad, based in Salt Lake City, has many other patents supporting BRACAnalysis, and Wood said those patents should keep similar products off the market until at least 2018. He said the shares should trade higher and maintained a price target of $28 per share.
William Blair & Co. analyst Amanda Murphy said the new review reduces the risk that patents will be ruled invalid.
"We see no reason to believe the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit would reach a different decision on the product claims than it did in 2011," she said.
Both analysts rate the stock at the equivalent of "Buy."
THE STOCK: Myriad shares dipped 10 cents to $23.24 in afternoon trading. The shares rose 2.5 percent on Monday, but before that, they had fallen 11.2 percent since March 20.