Illumina in talks to acquire cancer blood test developer Grail

17 September 2020 (Last Updated September 17th, 2020 12:43)

US-based biotechnology company Illumina is in talks to acquire cancer blood test developer Grail.

Illumina in talks to acquire cancer blood test developer Grail
Grail is developing a blood test to detect cancer early before symptoms appear, offering higher survival rates compared to late-stage diagnosis. Credit: ArekSocha / Pixabay.

US-based biotechnology company Illumina is in talks to acquire cancer blood test developer Grail.

Illumina is likely to pay more than $8bn for Grail, which is valued at approximately $6bn from its previous fundraisings, Bloomberg reported.

According to the regulatory filings, Grail has raised over $1.9bn.

The companies are expected to announce the deal this week. However, the sources said that no final decision has been made regarding the deal and talks may not proceed.

The companies have not responded to the publication’s requests for comment.

Genetic sequencing specialist Illumina holds nearly 15% stake in Grail, which was established as the company’s subsidiary in 2015.

Grail was founded as an independent entity a year later, following a $100m Series A financing, which raised money from Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates and Arch Venture Partners.

If it goes through, the deal will be the biggest ever for Illumina.

The acquisition of Grail is expected to put Illumina in direct competition with its customers who develop liquid biopsies, using the company’s sequencers.

Meanwhile, Grail recently secured breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its blood test being developed to detect multiple cancer types in people aged 50 years and above.

In June, the company reported positive results from the Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study, assessing its multi-cancer blood test.

According to the findings, the next-generation sequencing (NGS) test was able to detect a strong signal for 12 cancer types at their early stages with a minimum specificity of 99%.