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Illumina Moves Ahead with Grail Acquisition

Illumina has moved ahead with its acquisition of Grail even as regulators in the US and EU scrutinize the deal, as GenomeWeb reports, noting that Illumina will hold Grail as separate company while European regulators review the deal.

Illumina announced last September that it planned to acquire Grail, which itself spun out of Illumina in 2016. But in the US, the Federal Trade Commission has sought to block the deal, saying that it would lead to a decrease in innovation for multi-cancer early detection tests, and, as GenomeWeb notes, an administrative trial is scheduled for next week. Meanwhile, European regulators are reviewing the deal under a new European Commission merger regulation, though Illumina has challenged its jurisdiction.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Illumina says that there is no legal barrier to completing $7.1 billion acquisition. The Financial Times notes that the deal had an expiration date of December 20, and that the companies were concerned the regulatory proceedings would not be done by then.

"The stakes here are just too high to risk that outcome," Francis deSouza, chief executive of Illumina Chief Executive, tells the Journal.

FT says that this move may be seen by European regulators as "provocative" and could lead to a fine in addition to "years of legal wrangling in front of the European courts."

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