Illumina fights US and EU antitrust authorities over Grail deal

Life sciences company Illumina Inc. faces a maze of antitrust obstacles on two continents as it seeks to save its proposed $ 7.1 billion acquisition of Grail Inc., which is developing a test early detection of cancer.

The deal, announced last September, could have important ramifications for cancer care and the future of both companies. It has also become something of a test for US and EU antitrust authorities, as they focus more on whether acquisitions of top-tier startups could slow innovation.

The United States Federal Trade Commission sued the companies in March to block the deal. Since then, the European Union has added an element of intrigue by invoking a new policy to claim its say in the advancement of the merger of the two US-based companies.

llumina and Grail suffered the latest in a string of legal beatings Friday night in San Diego, where a judge granted the FTC’s request to drop upcoming federal court proceedings, dismissing the companies’ arguments that a delay Slower legal proceedings would be unfair to their defense of the transaction. Illumina is separately mounting an overseas legal campaign challenging EU jurisdiction.

Illumina, based in San Diego, develops and sells next-generation genetic sequencing machines and the chemicals used in them. Grail, based in Menlo Park, Calif., Was founded by Illumina and was established in 2017. It has developed liquid biopsy tests that examine blood samples for genetic signs of cancer, a product which in successful case, could have a significant impact on healthcare. Illumina says the takeover of Grail would allow it to scale up its operations and expand access to testing more quickly.

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