Government Race Against a Cure

EU and U.S. trust busters try to stop a biotech merger in a market that doesn’t yet exist.

Evidence that the coronavirus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology catches up to Fauci and other Wuhan Covid deniers, despite suspicious facts that have been apparent from the start. Image: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

香蕉视频苹果下载Competition cops in the U.S. and Europe have been stepping up merger scrutiny, which may be warranted in some cases. But now they’re colluding to stop a biotech deal that has the potential to accelerate genomic cancer testing and save countless lives.

香蕉视频苹果下载The story began in September when San Diego-based Illumina made an $8 billion offer for the four-year-old Silicon Valley startup Grail. Illumina makes platforms that do genetic sequencing for the likes of Covid variants and fetal abnormalities. Grail is Illumina’s prodigal daughter.

In 2016 Illumina formed Grail with the goal of developing a blood test that could detect DNA from cancer cells before people show symptoms. A year later Illumina spun off Grail. This let Grail raise venture capital to finance large clinical trials while Illumina focused on building its other businesses.

香蕉视频苹果下载Fast forward four years. Grail’s technology can now reliably detect 50 cancers at early stages with a simple blood draw. While the tests aren’t 100% accurate, the false positive rate is less than 1%, which is lower than for mammograms and PSA prostate tests. Grail’s technology can also detect the 12 most deadly cancers with 60% accuracy and has the potential to reduce false cancer diagnoses and invasive screenings while increasing early detection of aggressive cancers.

香蕉视频苹果下载Grail was considering an IPO last fall to raise $100 million when Illumina made a more attractive offer. Illumina says its regulatory expertise can accelerate the commercialization of Grail’s technology. Biotech startups often struggle to obtain regulatory approval and insurance reimbursements.

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