Illumina (Nasdaq:ILMN) announced today that an administrative law judge in the U.S. has rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s argument that the company’s $8 billion acquisition of Grail was anti-competitive.
More than a year after the deal closed, Illumina is still keeping Grail operating as a separate internal entity under a European Commission order. An Illumina spokesperson told MassDevice that the company expects a European Commission decision in the first half of September. The company set aside $609 million in legal contingencies during its second quarter in anticipation of a potential fine in the EU.
For now, Illumina has scored a legal win in the U.S. The FTC, like its European counterparts, had argued that the merger could hurt competition and innovation around multi-cancer early detection tests. The administrative law judge’s decision followed a four-week trial in 2021.
“Reuniting Illumina and Grail will transform the detection and treatment of cancer by facilitating widespread, affordable access to Grail’s life-saving Galleri test. This decision is a step toward making that vision a reality,” Illumina CEO Francis deSouza said in a news release.
Illumina started Grail internally in 2016. It later spun it out as a standalone company powered by Illumina’s NGS technology for developing data science and machine learning for enabling multiple cancers in early detection tests. Grail raised approximately $2 billion to support its platform and develop the Galleri multi-cancer screening test.
“Too many of us have experienced or witnessed the devastating effects of cancer when it is diagnosed too late. Our mission in bringing Illumina and Grail back together is to save many thousands of lives by working to ensure that everyone can find and afford a Galleri test,” deSouza said.
Charles Dadswell, the company’s general counsel, added: “As we’ve stated from the outset, this transaction is procompetitive, will advance innovation, lower healthcare costs and save lives. We are pleased that, after considering the evidence, the ALJ has reached the same conclusion.”