Decapitalization of the human genome
June 13, 2013 | D. T. Cochrane
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that pieces of the human gene cannot be patented. The ruling invalidated two high profile cancer detection patents awarded to Myriad Genetics (MYGN). The ruling upheld the patenting of synthetic DNA. This partial decapitalization of the human genome showed up as decumulation by the company. Compared to the one percent gain for the day by the S&P 500, our standard benchmark for ‘capital in general,’ MYGN lost 4.9 percent from its opening. The volume of the days trading reflects the market’s anticipation of the result, with the company’s value being bid up about 13 percent and down almost 10 percent from its opening.
A curious blip in the valuation occurred at 10:23AM EST, when the price dropped 3.7 percent in one minute. The trading volume for that minute was eight standard deviations greater than the day’s already unusually high volume. Given the direction of the change prior to the ruling, which was not delivered until the afternoon, it could indicate some insider knowledge.
The decline is actually small compared to the company’s recent accumulatory fortunes. Since Apr 9, MYGN has gained almost 40 percent, compared to a five percent gain by the S&P 500.
However, these gains are only the most recent upswing as part of the turbulence over its publicly traded history.