Analysts believe it is only a matter of time before the USA’s Myriad Genetics spins off its pharmaceutical business to concentrate on molecular diagnostics.

The company itself has issued a statement saying that its board of directors is “reviewing management's analysis of several strategic alternatives”. Chairman John Henderson said the firm is “committed to growing both of our business opportunities in a way that seeks to maximise shareholder value”.

He added that "we are continuing our deliberations and intend to announce a decision before the end of the year." However, Myriad specifically mentioned that it is exploring whether to spin-off the pharmaceutical subsidiary from its core molecular diagnostic business.

This last option seems the most likely one, according to Michael Yee at RBC Capital Markets. The analyst said he thinks at least two of Myriad’s eight board members back the split, which requires the support of at least five, and the company is deciding how to divide its debt and cash between the two businesses before a spin-off.

The molecular diagnostics business is responsible for virtually all of Myriad's revenues and in the third quarter ended March 31 contributed $59.0 million (an increase of 55%) out of a total of $61.8 million. Indeed the pharmaceuticals side of things suffered a major setback at the end of June with the news that the investigational Alzheimer's disease drug Flurizan (tarenflurbil), partnered with Denmark’s Lundbeck, had failed in a late-stage study.