Illumina to sell cancer-test maker Grail after latest antitrust ruling

Illumina Inc. said Sunday it will sell its Grail unit, after a federal appeals court on Friday found the $7.1 billion acquisition in 2021 to be anticompetitive.

In a statement Sunday, Illumina
which makes gene-sequencing products, said it will divest Grail and will not appeal the court’s decision. In October, European regulators had ordered Illumina to divest Grail on antitrust grounds. Illumina, which is based in San Diego, Calif., had argued the European Commission did not have jurisdiction over the deal.

“We are committed to an expeditious divestiture of Grail in a manner that allows its technology to continue benefitting patients,” Illumina Chief Executive 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 makes a blood test to detect early signs of cancer. Illumina said it expects to offload Grail by the end of the second quarter of 2024.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the appeals court said U.S. regulators were right to challenge the acquisition, but found errors in the Federal Trade Commission’s case, and sent it back to the FTC for reconsideration.

It’s been a tumultuous several months for Illumina, whose stock neared 10-year lows in mid-November. It named a new CEO in September, after lowering its full-year sales outlook in August.

Illumina shares have rallied 34% over the past month, but are still down 37% year to date.

This report was updated to reflect that Illumina’s headquarters is in San Diego.

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