Illumina, the leading producer of genetic sequencing machines, announced Sunday that it would sell Grail, a cancer test developer that it bought for $7.1 billion in 2021.
The move came two days after Illumina lost its case in a federal appeals court, which largely upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s decision. decision that Illumina should terminate its agreement with Grail for antitrust reasons.
The case was seen by antitrust experts as a test of regulators’ efforts to prevent big companies from buying up-and-coming innovators.
The deal also hit a roadblock in Europe. In September 2022, the European Union announced that it would block the acquisition. San Diego-based Illumina previously publicly stated that if it failed on appeal in either jurisdiction, it would divest the startup.
“We are committed to quickly divesting Grail so that its technology continues to benefit patients,” Illumina Chief Executive Officer Jacob Thaysen said in a statement. “The management team and I continue to focus on our core business and supporting our customers. I am confident in Illumina’s opportunities and our long-term success.
Grail, which created technology for the early detection of certain cancers, began as a research project within Illumina. It was created as a separate company in 2016. Although it does not compete with Illumina in genetic sequencing, it uses genetic sequencing in its blood tests for cancer.
Illumina decided to purchase Grail, despite an initial complaint from the FTC, which claimed the acquisition would reduce innovation in the U.S. market and raise prices. Still, Illumina was confident it would win in court.
The sale of Grail will be accomplished through a third-party sale or capital market transaction, the company said, with the aim of finalizing the deal by the end of the second quarter of the year. ‘next year.
Now that the commission’s challenge to the deal has been upheld in court, other tech giants and companies dominant in their respective fields could find their acquisition attempts curbed by the agency. Since taking office in 2021, FTC Chair Lina Khan has taken a more aggressive stance toward mergers that she says could be harmful to the economy.