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Court Fast-Tracks Illumina Appeal of FTC Ruling as Voting Starts in Contested Director Election

NEW YORK – The US court overseeing Illumina's appeal of the US Federal Trade Commission's order to undo the acquisition of Grail has approved an expedited timetable for key initial filings.

In an order issued Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved an accelerated filing schedule for Illumina's principal brief, the FTC's response to that brief, and Illumina's reply to the FTC. The Illumina reply brief will be due seven days earlier than usual.

Illumina said in a court filing that the expedited appeal would save lives and minimize economic loss, should it prevail. The San Diego-based company, which is chartered in Delaware, declined to comment on why it filed its appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over US district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Separately, the company set May 25 as the date for its 2023 annual shareholder meeting, which will feature the contested director election precipitated by activist investor Carl Icahn.

Icahn has nominated three individuals with close ties to his businesses to replace Illumina CEO Francis deSouza, Chairman John Thompson, and director Robert Epstein.

On Wednesday, Illumina issued another statement asking shareholders to reject these nominees. "The Board does not endorse Carl Icahn or his unqualified nominees and believes the election of any such nominees would detract from Illumina's long-term strategy," the firm said.

Icahn's camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Voting has opened for all shareholders, an Illumina spokesperson said in an email.