FTC Orders Illumina to Divest of Recently Acquired Cancer Test Maker GRAIL

  • The FTC issued an opinion and order requiring DNA sequencing company Illumina, Inc. to divest multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test maker GRAIL, Inc., alleging that the acquisition would reduce competition in the U.S. market for research, development, and commercialization of cancer screening tests.
  • According to the opinion, Illumina is the dominant producer of next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms necessary to analyze genetic materials in MCED testing. GRAIL is competing with other MCED test makers to develop and commercialize efficient testing, so the vertical acquisition of GRAIL by Illumina would allow Illumina to easily foreclose GRAIL’s competitors, in part by blocking access to NGS platforms on which MCED test makers rely.
  • The opinion and order will become final unless Illumina and GRAIL file an appeal. As previously reported, in September 2022 an Administrative Law Judge issued an Initial Decision dismissing the FTC’s attempts to block Illumina’s acquisition of GRAIL. This opinion reverses that Initial Decision.