Illumina appeals FTC order to divest cancer test maker Grail

Illumina, Inc.

Illumina appeals FTC order to divest cancer test maker Grail

WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) – Illumina (ILMN.O) on Monday filed an appeal against a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) order, demanding that it divest cancer diagnostic test maker Grail (GRAL.O) over competition concerns in the U.S. market for cancer tests.

San Diego-based Illumina is arguing that the FTC “violated due process by depriving Illumina and Grail of a fair proceeding before an impartial tribunal,” according to the filing in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

An FTC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC in April ruled for a second time that Illumina’s 2021 acquisition of its formerly part-owned subsidiary should be undone. An administrative law judge at the FTC had earlier dismissed the antitrust charges brought against Illumina but FTC staff won an appeal against that decision.

The FTC has been concerned that Illumina, the dominant provider of DNA sequencing of tumors and cancer cells that help match patients with the best treatment option, might raise prices or refuse to sell to Grail’s rivals.

Grail, valued at $7.1 billion under Illumina’s deal, is seeking to market a powerful test to diagnose many kinds of cancer from a single blood test, known as a liquid biopsy.

Illumina has pledged to continue selling its DNA sequencing services to other firms. It has offered to sign contracts to supply any of Grail’s rivals and to not raise prices.

The deal also faces stiff headwinds in Europe.

In early December, EU antitrust regulators proposed measures for Illumina to unwind its acquisition of Grail, three months after blocking the deal.

Illumina has also appealed that decision on the grounds that it does no business in Europe and therefore the EU competition enforcer has no jurisdiction.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns 1.4% of the company, had also urged Illumina to unwind the Grail deal which he called a risky acquisition. Illumina CEO Francis deSouza, who was challenged by Icahn nominee Vincent Intrieri, survived the campaign.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and Mrinmay Dey; Editing by Jamie Freed and Edwina Gibbs

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Source: Reuters