Life Sciences Insight

Illumina Could Face Hefty Fine Over Grail Acquisition

The San Diego, CA-based company is facing a fine because of closing the Grail acquisition without waiting for EU antitrust approval, according to a Reuters report.

The fallout from Illumina’s Grail acquisition could be costly, according to a report from Reuters. The San Diego, CA-based gene sequencing company is facing a fine of 10% of its global annual turnover for closing its acquisition of Grail without waiting for EU antitrust approval, Reuters reported citing people close to the matter.

Illumina defended its decision to acquire the liquid biopsy company in a case in December but failed in its efforts, according to the Reuters report. In November, the company, which employs about 9, 200 workers worldwide said it would reduce its global workforce by 5%.

Illumina and Grail have a rich history together. Seven years ago, during the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Illumina announced it was spinning out Grail and the new company would focus on early cancer screening from a simple blood test. Grail would smash financing records at launch by raising more than $100 million in a series A round.   

Grail would continue to set the bar high with funding rounds but decided to ditch the private scene in early September 2020 and started taking steps to become a public company. Shortly after, rumors began to swirl that Illumina was interested in acquiring Grail.  It would not take long before the gene-sequencing company made its intentions clear on picking up Grail.

The road became bumpy in April of 2021 when the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to block the deal. (Editor’s Note: This would be the second time Illumina and FTC would lock horns over a deal. The first time was when FTC challenged Illumina’s $1.2 billion proposed acquisition of Pacific Bio. Illumina and PacBio eventually terminated the merger.)

The EU would eventually challenge the Grail deal, too.

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