Myriad Genetics Up on Strategic-Options Plan for Autoimmune Unit

Myriad Genetics stock traded higher after the diagnostic-testing company said it was pursuing strategic alternatives for its Vectra autoimmune business.
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Myriad Genetics shares were higher Wednesday after the diagnostic-testing company said it would pursue strategic alternatives for its autoimmune unit.

Shares of the Salt Lake City company at last check rose 3.9% to $22.43.

“[We] are pursuing strategic alternatives for our autoimmune business and realigning our International business unit to streamline operations, reduce complexity and cost, and concentrate on our biggest growth opportunities," President and Chief Executive Paul J. Diaz said in a statement.

"These actions are among the key initiatives we have undertaken over the last several months to improve our competitive position, commercial capabilities, and focus on operational excellence,” he added.

Myriad’s autoimmune business includes an advanced multiprotein biomarker blood test, Vectra.

"We believe the growth prospects for this product are even more significant in an organization with greater focus and complementary capabilities in autoimmune disease,” Diaz said.

"We strongly believe in the long-term-growth prospects for Vectra. We are committed to supporting our teammates in this business and ensuring that Vectra continues to positively impact the lives of patients with autoimmune disease," he added.

As for the overseas revamp, the "restructuring of Myriad International operations will focus direct selling efforts on high-growth market opportunities in Germany, France, and Japan, where there is increasing demand for companion diagnostic, hereditary cancer, and kit-based products," the company said.

The company said it would serve other overseas markets via other business models, including distributor partnerships.

Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Myriad's BRACAnalysis metastatic pancreatic cancer diagnostic tool for patients who are eligible for treatment with Lynparaza, a drug marketed by AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report.

In November, Myriad said it was looking to divest its contract research services business and well as its dermatology unit.