March 7, 2002
Myriad Genetics Inc.
Peter D. Meldrum
President and CEO
Predictive Tools to Save Lives
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life science?
Meldrum: Myriad Genetics was founded in 1991 with the goal of developing products to predict, prevent and treat important human diseases. One of the Company’s early successes was in pioneering the predictive medicine field with the discovery of the breast cancer gene – BRCA1. This discovery led to a predictive medicine test that has the potential to save the lives of women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Since that time, Myriad has introduced four predictive medicine products and assembled a world-class drug development group. In just a few short years, this group has discovered and developed a novel, innovative range of compounds to treat devastating diseases such as cancer, viral infection and Alzheimer’s disease.
What is your vision for the development of the life sciences market?
Meldrum: I am motivated by the potential to improve a great many lives through the discovery and development of new medical products that can predict and prevent human disease. More than ever before, we have the ability to redefine the way that our family history of disease will affect us personally. Inheriting a mutation in certain cancer-causing genes was once a virtual death sentence. Now, we are discovering drugs that can prevent the disease from occurring in these families. New medicines will also benefit those of us without a family history of disease. These new drugs will be targeted to the root cause of a disease, not just to its symptoms. They will be more effective and safer with fewer side effects than traditional drugs.
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
Meldrum: Myriad has established two subsidiary companies to create the products that will drive us forward to our goal of becoming the leading company to predict, prevent and treat cancer and viral diseases. Myriad Genetic Laboratories employs 250 talented individuals that develop and market predictive and personalized medicine products. Myriad Pharmaceuticals and Myriad Genetics research and development, through the efforts of 275 dedicated employees, discover and develop novel therapeutic approaches to the deadliest diseases of our time. These efforts are made possible by a core group of 40 bioinformatics specialists.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
Meldrum: Myriad has 12 drugs in development to treat cancer, viral infection and other important human diseases. Our lead drug is in Phase II/III human clinical testing for prostate cancer. Myriad provides predictive medicine products that save lives. They include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, uterine cancer and melanoma skin cancer. These products are based on the identification of mutations in genes, using DNA sequencing.
Myriad created a joint venture with Hitachi and Oracle to map the human proteome. Using a protein interaction technology that uncovers disease pathways, and the mass spectrometer to identify proteins that form complexes in the body, Myriad Proteomics plans to map essentially all protein interactions within the next three years. This human proteome project will result in a nearly complete set of proteins and the means to identify a very large number of important targets for new drug discovery. Myriad Proteomics has begun discussions on licensing opportunities for this information.
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