- Myriad Genetics, one of the largest genetic testing companies, has retracted its sales forecasts for its 2020 fiscal year, citing disruptions to its business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- "Recent social distancing guidelines have had a significant impact on test volume trends in late March and into the fiscal fourth quarter," said Chief Financial Officer Bryan Riggsbee, who's also serving as interim president and CEO, in Myriad's Wednesday statement.
- In response to COVID-19, the company said it has allowed all non-essential personnel to work from home, ended in-office sales calls and implemented policies such as direct sample collections for patients.
The effects of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease are rippling throughout the healthcare industry. There are now some 1.5 million cases confirmed around the world, including about 400,000 in the U.S., according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University through April 8.
For Myriad, efforts to prevent the spread of the virus mean patients are forgoing or delaying routine tests. And they may be rethinking diagnostic evaluations that at any other time would be considered a necessary part of care.
Oncology, one of Myriad's six specialty areas, provides a good example. Tests to monitor disease progress are a vital part of cancer treatment, while genetic tests can be a key criteria to gain access to clinical trials of targeted therapies.
"Entry into a research study is considered standard of care for many patients with locally advanced or advanced cancer," six doctors from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote in a recent paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Most trials require additional appointments and tests, further increasing the potential for infection."
The FDA last month issued new guidelines on how to run clinical trials during the outbreak. Nonetheless, there's an "urgent need" for clear guidance on how to both maintain the integrity of studies and protect patients, the doctors wrote.
Myriad also specializes in women's health, urology, dermatology, autoimmune disease and neuroscience. Even before the pandemic hit, the company had lowered financial expectations for 2020. Myriad predicted in February its full-year revenues would total $735 million, down from a high of $810 million estimated the prior quarter, which was another cut from the $875 million first projected going into fiscal 2020.
The company said business was on track to meet expectations until mid-March. While the uncertainty that arrived with the virus means it's difficult to predict future business, Myriad said it plans to give an update on the next quarterly earnings call.