Shaping the future of precision medicine with greater access, ease of use, collaboration and innovation

From Modern Healthcare

Paul J. Diaz is president and chief executive officer at Myriad Genetics. In 2020, Diaz kicked off a sweeping transformation and growth plan in the midst of the pandemic. Two years in, the company is reinventing itself to better serve a more patient-centric healthcare system – helping patients take control of their health, making genetic testing more accessible and affordable, and enabling healthcare providers to better detect, treat and prevent disease.

Why and how is Myriad Genetics changing?

Myriad Genetics is known for scientific quality and reliability. As part of our transformation, we’re listening and acting on feedback from the patients and customers we work with every day. We’re putting patients and providers at the center of our mission to make genetic testing and data-driven medical information more widely available than ever before. We’ve doubled down to focus on three core areas of expertise: mental health, women’s health and oncology, making new investments exceeding $150 million combined in research and development, technology, labs, and commercial capabilities.

What motivated you to take on this challenge?

I grew up in healthcare and saw firsthand the need to focus on the triple aim of better outcomes, affordability and ease of use so healthcare providers can do what they do best: deliver high-quality care. At Myriad Genetics, our goal is to be a trusted, differentiated partner with specialized expertise in a healthcare system that is increasingly focused on patient-centric care and value. We currently process more than 1.3 million tests a year, serving more than 60,000 active ordering physicians. Over the next three to five years, we aim to exceed the 7 million genetic tests completed in our first 31 years.

What do you see as the key drivers of Myriad’s transformation?

Our transformation is driven by our values. We want to:

  • Make genetic testing more accessible, inclusive and affordable to every individual. Our MyRisk™ Hereditary Cancer Test with RiskScore® for all ancestries offers a five-year and lifetime breast cancer risk assessment, which, for the first time, is available to women regardless of ancestry. We’re providing $49 million in aid to over 86,000 eligible patients through financial assistance programs, plus expanded payment options to improve accessibility and affordability.
  • Take friction out of the customer experience. We’re integrating with Epic’s electronic medical record platform and launching unified portals so patients and providers can have a single source for ordering, billing, cost-estimates and reports from multiple different tests.
  • Team up with others in the healthcare ecosystem. We’re collaborating with partners such as Illumina, Intermountain Healthcare, AstraZeneca, MSD and DNANexus, to name a few. We contribute insights from our dataset to advance clinical care and scientific research.
  • Provide the best possible quality, and keep raising the bar. Precise™ Oncology Solutions combines germline testing, tumor profiling and companion diagnostics in one convenient experience. Innovation comes in other forms too, including state-of-the-art labs and solutions delivered at home and through telemed and online experiences.

Can you talk about what you are doing to help address mental health?

The pandemic worsened the mental health crisis. Myriad’s GeneSight® psychotropic test helps reduce trial and error for patients struggling to find the medication that works for them. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published in JAMA showed veterans are more likely to achieve depression remission when GeneSight test results are available to inform medication treatment. It also found patients whose providers did not have access to GeneSight were two times more likely to be prescribed medications with substantial gene-drug interactions.

What’s next in terms of game-changing innovations shaping precision medicine?

Among the new offerings in our pipeline, we are expanding Precise Oncology Solutions into liquid biopsy and Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) applications. We are developing a competitive MRD test in-house using proven core competencies from our own portfolio.

Our FirstGene 4-in-1 prenatal test is an integrated solution that combines non-invasive prenatal screening, maternal carrier screening, fetal recessive status and blood compatibility. It simplifies the process, giving patients vital information from a single blood draw. FirstGene launches next year and is among the game-changers that will make Myriad’s next 30 years as exciting as the first.

*Original story published on September 01, 2022.