By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – US life sciences company Illumina Inc (NASDAQ :)’s proposed takeover of cancer test maker Grail Inc could curb innovation and competition, EU antitrust regulators warned Thursday when opening an investigation. on a large scale.
The European Commission’s announcement confirmed a Reuters story last week.
Illumina announced the $ 8 billion cash and stock deal for startup Grail last September, buying the stake of investors, including Amazon (NASDAQ 🙂 founder Jeff Bezos, to regain control of a company that spun off. Five years ago.
Grail performs a non-invasive early detection biopsy test to detect many types of cancers using DNA sequencing.
The EU executive, acting as the enforcer for the competition for the 27-country blc, said its preliminary investigation showed that Illumina could have a financial incentive to block Grail’s cancer screening rivals.
“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 before November 29 whether to approve or block the deal.
Illumina said it will work with the Commission, but cautioned against vetoing the deal.
“If this acquisition does not proceed, GRAIL’s European deployment will be slower and the cost will be measured in unnecessary loss of life,” Chief Executive Francis deSouza said in a statement.
“Rejoining GRAIL with Illumina will accelerate the availability of the GRAIL test for many years in the EEA and around the world, saving tens of thousands of lives and generating significant savings in healthcare costs,” he said.
Sources have told Reuters that Illumina will have to offer significant concessions to secure EU approval for the deal.
While seeking EU approval for the deal, Illumina is also challenging in court the EU’s decision to examine it even though it does not meet the income criteria. Regulators say those powers are needed to prevent companies that buy rival startups from closing them.
However, critics say it creates uncertainties for companies.
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