Illumina to acquire cancer detection company GRAIL
Illumina has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GRAIL — a healthcare company whose mission is focused on multi-cancer early detection — for cash and stock consideration of $8 billion upon closing of the transaction. In addition, GRAIL stockholders will receive future payments representing a tiered single-digit percentage of certain GRAIL-related revenues. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of Illumina and GRAIL.
GRAIL was founded by Illumina in 2016 and was spun out as a standalone company, powered by Illumina’s NGS technology, to develop state-of-the-art data science and machine learning, and create the atlas of cancer signals in the blood, enabling multi-cancer early detection tests. GRAIL raised approximately $2 billion to support its innovative technology platform and develop Galleri, expected to launch commercially in 2021 as a multi-cancer, laboratory-developed test for early cancer detection from blood. An early version of Galleri was able to detect more than 50 cancer types — over 45 of which have no recommended screening in the United States — and GRAIL plans to follow the platform with future blood-based tests for cancer diagnosis, detection and post-treatment monitoring of cancer patients.
“Over the last four years, GRAIL’s talented team has made exceptional progress in developing the technology and clinical data required to launch the Galleri multi-cancer screening test,” said Illumina President and CEO Francis deSouza. “Galleri is among the most promising new tools in the fight against cancer, and we are thrilled to welcome GRAIL back to Illumina to help transform cancer care using genomics and our NGS platform.
“Together, we have an important opportunity to introduce routine and broadly available blood-based screening that enables early cancer detection when treatment can be more effective and less costly. Multi-cancer early detection is better for patients, their physicians and payors. As we accelerate our path to clinical leadership and the path to multi-cancer early detection, we will continue to drive significant value creation for our stockholders.”
“Cancer is one of society’s most significant challenges, with most cancer being detected too late,” said GRAIL CEO Hans Bishop. “We believe multi-cancer early detection technology could address a tremendous unmet need and reduce the cancer burden worldwide.
“Combining forces with Illumina enables broader and faster adoption of GRAIL’s innovative, multi-cancer early detection blood test, enhancing patient access and expanding global reach. We are excited about this next step in our journey to transform cancer detection and outcomes and create value for patients and their families and communities, healthcare providers and payors, employers and stockholders.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals, and expected to close in the second half of 2021. Following the completion of the transaction, GRAIL will operate as a standalone division within Illumina with a dedicated leadership team to ensure continuation of its success.
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