Illumina’s Grail deal could hurt innovation, EU warns By Reuters

Β© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The offices of gene sequencing company Illumina Inc are shown in San Diego, Calif., January 11, 2016. REUTERS / Mike Blake

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The proposed acquisition by US life sciences company Illumina Inc (NASDAQ πŸ™‚ of cancer test maker Grail Inc could dampen innovation and competition, antitrust regulators warned Thursday. ‘EU as they opened a full-scale investigation.

The European Commission announcement confirmed a Reuters story last week.

Illumina announced the $ 8 billion cash and stock deal for startup Grail last September, buying out investors including Amazon founder (NASDAQ πŸ™‚ Jeff Bezos, to take back control of a company he she created five years ago.

Grail offers a non-invasive early detection biopsy test to screen for many types of cancer using DNA sequencing.

The EU executive, which acts as the competition authority for the blc of 27 countries, said its preliminary investigation showed Illumina may have an economic incentive to block cancer detection rivals from Grail.

“It is very important to preserve market conditions, allowing the best solutions to emerge so that tests finally reach the market at affordable prices for the benefit of patients,” said Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in a statement.

The EU watchdog will decide by November 29 whether to allow or block the deal.

Illumina said he would work with the Commission but cautioned against vetoing the deal.

“If this acquisition does not take place, the European deployment of GRAIL will be slower and the cost will be measured in unnecessary loss of life,” CEO Francis deSouza said in a statement.

β€œThe reunification of GRAIL with Illumina will accelerate the availability of the GRAIL test by years in the EEA and globally, saving tens of thousands of lives and leading to significant savings in healthcare costs,” he said. -he declares.

Sources told Reuters that Illumina will have to offer hefty concessions to gain EU approval for the deal.

While seeking EU approval for the deal, Illumina is also challenging the EU’s decision to review it in court even if it does not meet income criteria. Regulators say such powers are needed to prevent companies from buying rival startups to shut them down.

Critics say, however, that this creates uncertainty for businesses.

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