SALT LAKE CITY — Myriad Genetics announced that Peter Meldrum, the company’s former CEO, died Dec. 20 after falling while playing touch football with his grandsons and suffering a head injury. He was 71.
Meldrum co-founded Myriad Genetics with Dr. Mark Skolnick in 1992. He guided the company from its inception through its initial public offering in 1995, helping to build it into a profitable company with more than 2,500 employees that provided over 2 million patient test results by the time of his retirement in 2015.
According to a company news release, under his leadership, the company achieved numerous important strategic and scientific accomplishments, including the discovery of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and the launch of BRACAnaysis — the first commercial test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. He also helped lead the acquisitions of Myriad RBM and Crescendo Bioscience, along with the company’s expansion outside the United States.
“We are deeply saddened by Pete’s passing,” said Mark Capone, the company's president and CEO. “He was a scientific visionary and pioneer in the fields of personalized medicine and molecular diagnostics. He cared deeply about making a difference in patients’ lives by providing perfect test results which are values that we continue to live by every day.”
Born in Salt Lake City, Meldrum received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Utah in 1970 and an MBA from the U. in 1974.
During his career, Meldrum received various awards, including the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology and the Mountain West 2 Venture’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was inducted into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame in 2009. He also served on Westminster College's board of trustees, the Natural History History Museum of Utah's board, the National Advisory Council, and U.'s Fine Arts Advisory Board.
After retiring from Myriad, he served as executive director of The Meldrum Foundation, the family’s private charitable foundation that supports educational endeavors, artistic activities and humanitarian programs. He also served as chairman of the board for Golden Pine Ventures LLC, a venture capital firm focused on the development of biotechnology and biomedical companies.
“Pete’s business acumen drove our company’s growth throughout his tenure as CEO,” said Myriad Genetics board chairman Dr. John Henderson. “His consistent focus on the individual patient, commitment to research and strive for perfection were the cornerstones of his success and are values that we continue to cherish as a company.”
Meldrum is survived by his wife of 48 years, Catherine, and his son, Christopher, along with his brother Daniel, three grandsons as well as many nieces and nephews.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Peter Meldrum died on Dec. 2. He died Dec. 20.