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Science Coalition Features U Startup


Oct. 29, 2013 – University of Utah startup Myriad Genetics is featured in a report released today by the Science Coalition that highlights the importance of federally funded scientific research – and the threat it faces.

The report, titled “Sparking Economic Growth 2.0,” highlights 100 companies that trace their roots to federally funded university research and their role in bringing innovations to market, creating new jobs and contributing to economic growth.

Myriad Genetics was formed in 1991 as one of the first genomic companies to examine the role genes play in human disease. The spinoff company was created to develop genetic tests based on research done at the University of Utah. It is located on the U’s Research Park. The report recognizes Myriad Genetics as one of the oldest companies it featured and notes that it is among the majority of companies 10 years old or older that are still headquartered in their home states – contributing to the local economy.

“The basic scientific research that gives rise to companies like those in this report is in jeopardy,” according to a statement from the Science Coalition. “Federal funding for research and development has been on a downward trend for the past decade, and sequestration will wring an additional $95 billion from federal research and development budgets. This national disinvestment in science will have real consequences.”

According to the Science Coalition, an estimated $330 million was invested in the initial university research that gave rise to the discovery or core technology behind the companies in the report. This funding often occurred during many years and even decades and is a relatively small sum compared with problems such as cancer, which costs the U.S. economy $552 million every day, or cybercrime, which costs $383.6 million a day, the group says.

“Research funding from the federal government is not easily replaced,” said Tom Parks, vice president for research at the University of Utah. “While companies often fund research at universities, very little of this is for basic research, as this type has no guarantee of becoming commercialized. Basic research, however, is the foundation of commercial research. Its support by the federal government is crucial for advancing innovation and economic development in Utah.”

“Sparking Economic Growth 2.0” and its accompanying database of company profiles are available here at .