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Grail

Backed by large public companies and growing prospective data, the first molecular blood tests to screen for multiple cancers are approaching commercialization.

The company aims to use the methylation technology from its multi-cancer screening assay to detect minimal residual disease in early-stage cancer patients.

Although the total number of deals went down in 2020, those deals were worth more compared to 2019 — four of the top five had billion-dollar price tags.

In a note to investors, Piper Sandler analysts wrote that the upgrade reflects increased confidence in Grail and Illumina's core next-generation sequencing business.

To Spot it Earlier

The National Health Service is to conduct a trial of Grail's blood-based screening test for cancer.

Blood samples

The test uses a targeted methylation sequencing panel to detect more than 50 cancer types across all stages and pinpoint a cancer's tissue of origin.

The firm presented initial study results from the test, which identifies six cancers, showing overall sensitivity at 86 percent and specificity of 95 percent.

The investment firm said that Grail's revenue trajectory is uncertain, and given the firm's operating loss, it will significantly dilute Illumina's earnings.

Along with the downgrade, the investment bank also lowered its December 2021 price target for Illumina from $390 to $280.

Illumina thinks the next-generation sequencing cancer testing market will grow to $75 billion over the next 15 years, driven by screening.

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Reuters reports that Germany is seeking to sequence 5 percent of patient samples that test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

23andMe and Medscape say primary care physicians are increasingly more comfortable with discussing direct-to-consumer genetic testing results.

The publisher of the Science family of journals will allow some authors to place peer-reviewed versions of their papers into publicly accessible repositories.

In Science this week: analysis of genome-wide association studies of chronic kidney disease, and more.