In March 2022, Myriad Genetics was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. Since 2008, Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies has been the definitive source for recognizing organizations that are transforming industries and shaping society. This year’s list honors businesses that are making the biggest impact in their industries, providing a roadmap for the future of innovation across dynamic sectors of the economy.

For more than 30 years, Myriad led the way to the future of genetic testing and precision medicine. Here is an inside look at some of the innovations behind Myriad’s rank as a top 10 biotech company.

Making Breast Cancer Risk More Equal

In 2021, Myriad expanded access to genetic testing with the launch of the first Polygenic Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score for all ancestries. The MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer test with RiskScore® now provides a personalized breast cancer risk assessment for all women not previously diagnosed with breast cancer — regardless of their ancestry.

Working with industry-leading researchers, Myriad Genetics assessed data from more than 275,000 women to validate the use of an enhanced method like RiskScore for assessing polygenic breast cancer risk in women across ancestries. In this cohort, Myriad demonstrated the new polygenic risk score’s (PRS) ability to improve risk separation between high-risk and low risk for breast cancer. The power of the new model to separate high and low risk was improved across all self-reported ancestry groups. Results reached statistical significance in all ancestry groups.

Amplifying Prenatal Genetic Testing

In addition to innovations in hereditary cancer testing, Myriad launched the proprietary AMPLIFY™ technology, which further increases the performance of the Prequel™ noninvasive prenatal screening (NIPS) test. AMPLIFY technology increases the fetal fraction of a NIPS sample by preferentially sequencing the fetal cell-free DNA fragments that circulate in a mother’s blood.

Up to 50% of pregnant women present with high BMI to their healthcare provider. Studies have demonstrated that BMI is not evenly distributed across ethnicities, and up to 24% of women with high BMI will not receive a result on standard NIPS platforms due to low fetal fraction.

Women who don’t receive a result may do no further prenatal screening at all; they may go through subsequent rounds of NIPS, or they may undergo invasive procedures such as amniocentesis. These procedures can increase the risk of miscarriage and add unnecessary expense to the U.S. healthcare system.

Prequel with AMPLIFY technology is designed to help overcome the limitations of standard NIPS in order to provide equity of care to pregnant women.

Ethnicity and Access to Genetic Carrier Screening

In 2021, The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) advised that genetic carrier screening be offered to all women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy. The statement recommends screening for more than 110 genetic disorders regardless of family history or ethnicity. ACMG previously recommended more limited carrier screening and for only certain ethnicities.

The statement by ACMG was partially based on a study conducted by Myriad Genetics, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study demonstrated that when carrier screening is limited to only certain ethnicities, a substantial number of pregnancies affected by serious genetic conditions fail to be identified. For example, ethnicity-based screening guidelines identify only 6% of affected pregnancies among East Asians and 21% of affected pregnancies among Hispanics. Screening without regard to ethnicity, as ACMG has recommended, avoids such inequity in care.

Seven studies by Myriad were cited in the new statement, including those that demonstrate the clinical utility of carrier screening, reveal the limitations of an ethnicity-based approach, and establish a system of classifying the severity of the genetic disease.

Partnerships advance precision oncology

Myriad announced a new strategic collaboration with Intermountain Precision Genomics, a service of Intermountain Healthcare. This collaboration creates a comprehensive germline genetic testing and somatic tumor offering that combines Myriad’s advanced hereditary cancer and companion diagnostic tests with Intermountain Precision Genomics’ world-class laboratory services.

The Lab of the Future, Today

Myriad expanded a state-of-the-art Lab of the Future to analyze genetic test results and deliver more timely, accurate results to healthcare providers and patients. This 13,000 square-foot facility, which processes clinical samples, is now one of the most advanced genome centers in the world, resulting from eight years of research, engineering, construction, and optimization.

The lab’s advanced robotics and instrumentation were customized by Myriad Genetics engineers — processing thousands of clinical samples every day. A typical running work cell is made up of 300 instruments and 500 software programs. Automated safeguards and redundancies are built into the system to prevent delays in delivering information to patients and providers. The facility is equipped with automated liquid handling and waste treatment capabilities which reduce plastic waste and create a more environmentally sustainable lab.  

What’s Next

Our purpose-led mission is comprised of advancing health and well-being for all, empowering every individual by revealing the answers inside of us. Myriad is committed to illuminating the path to better health through genetic insights – innovating to expand access to better healthcare across racial and economic lines. Now, we aim to play as pivotal a role in the next 30 years of genetics and precision medicine as we did in the first 30, applying the power of data-driven genetic insights.

Myriad Genetics at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Paul J. Diaz, president and chief executive officer, Bryan Riggsbee, chief financial officer, and Dale Muzzey, chief scientific officer, presented at the 41st annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare Conference.