Biotechnology company Illumina has completed the acquisition of Grail for cash and stock consideration of $8bn to accelerate patient access to the latter’s multi-cancer early-detection test.

The latest move follows a definitive agreement signed by the company to acquire Grail in September 2020.

Grail will continue to operate as a separate company until the ongoing regulatory review by the European Commission (EC) is completed.

Recently, the EC launched an in-depth inquiry to check if the acquisition will reduce competition and innovation in the emerging market for the development and commercialisation of cancer detection tests based on sequencing technologies.

Established by Illumina in 2016, Grail is focused on developing new technologies for early cancer detection.

The company’s Galleri blood test has the ability to detect 50 different types of cancers before they are symptomatic.

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Illumina CEO Francis deSouza said: “Just as we are now able to screen for early-stage diabetes and high cholesterol, we will soon be able to conduct multi-cancer early detection with a simple blood test in your doctor’s office.

“Since early detection of cancer saves lives, this new genomic test will be nothing short of transformational for human health and the economics of healthcare.”

The company stated that the acquisition of Grail will allow it to make the Galleri blood test broadly available, as well as affordable, for people around the world.

Grail CEO Hans Bishop said: “The merger with Illumina will get the Galleri test to people far faster. We aim to accelerate this process so the test will be available in doctors’ offices everywhere, fully reimbursed.

“A one-year acceleration of access to the Galleri test for the US population has the potential to save 10,000 lives over a nine-year period.”