Illumina, the gene-sequencing company, is to buy cancer screening startup Grail, in a cash-and-stock deal worth $8 billion. Grail, which develops blood tests to identify early-stage cancers, is backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
Founded by Illumina in 2016, GRAIL, a standalone company, is powered by Illumina’s NGS technology to develop state-of-the-art data science and machine learning and create the atlas of cancer signals in the blood, enabling multi-cancer early detection tests.
With this acquisition, Illumina will have access to Grail’s “liquid biopsy” blood test, Galleri, which helps identify early-stage cancers and is to be launched commercially in 2021. It will also accelerate the adoption of NGS-based early multi-cancer detection tests to reach more patients.