The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to put a stop to the biotechnology company Illumina’s $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail, arguing that the acquisition would stifle competition. Grail, which Illumina announced it would acquire last September, is a maker of a non-invasive early detection test for up to 50 types of cancer.
A key part of the FTC’s argument is that Illumina’s acquisition of Grail would prevent other companies from developing technology similar to Grail’s MCED tests. This is because the technology required to make MCED tests uses DNA sequencing, and Illumina makes one of the key components.
The U.S. regulator is arguing that if Illumina acquires Grail, it could raise the price of that component, keeping new companies from entering the field.
On the other hand, to push the deal through, Illumina has said it would sign an agreement to lower the price of its sequencing technology by 40% by 2025, increasing access for other companies.