Grail plans to raise $1 billion for liquid biopsy clinical trials

Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), today announced that GRAIL has received indications of interest to invest approximately $1B for its Series B financing, primarily from undisclosed private and strategic investors. GRAIL intends to raise additional capital in the Series B financing from other investors and has engaged Goldman Sachs as a placement agent in connection with the contemplated additional financing. GRAIL intends to close the Series B prior to the end of the first quarter.

“We founded GRAIL a year ago to enable early cancer detection via a blood-based screening test powered by Illumina sequencing technology”

GRAIL will use the proceeds for continued development and validation of their blood-based test for cancer screening, which will require large-scale clinical trials including the previously announced Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas study as well as other trials that are expected to sequence hundreds of thousands of patients. Additionally, proceeds will be used to repurchase a portion of Illumina’s stake.

“We founded GRAIL a year ago to enable early cancer detection via a blood-based screening test powered by Illumina sequencing technology,” said Jay Flatley, Executive Chairman of Illumina and current Chairman of GRAIL. “This raise, when completed, will provide GRAIL the resources to develop its first products and embark on the large-scale trials required to demonstrate the stringent performance requirements of a cancer screening test.”

Given the potential success of the Series B, and GRAIL’s plan to aggressively invest that capital, Illumina has decided to accelerate their path to independence, which will result in GRAIL becoming one of Illumina’s largest customers over time. Illumina will modify the supply and commercialization agreement with GRAIL to a market-based agreement and will no longer have representation on the Grail Board of Directors. As part of this transaction Illumina’s ownership will become slightly less than 20 percent and GRAIL will be treated as a cost-method investment.

“We are very excited about the progress the GRAIL team has made in the last year,” said Francis deSouza, President and Chief Executive Officer of Illumina. “This capital allows GRAIL to take on the significant technology, market, and regulatory challenges of developing and validating a blood-based cancer screening test. This outcome maximizes value to Illumina by creating one of our largest customers of sequencing instruments and consumables over time, providing royalties on future GRAIL tests and through appreciation of our ownership interest.”

GRAIL’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Huber, added, “We are honored to have world-class investors who support our goal of reducing global cancer mortality through early detection — especially the invaluable support we received from Illumina during our start-up phase – and we look forward to the next phase of our growth.”

Source – BusinessWire

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