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Grail, Bezos-Backed Cancer-Diagnostic Firm, Files for IPO

Grail, a cancer-diagnostic company backed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, filed with the SEC to go public.
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Grail, a cancer-diagnostic company backed by Amazon  (AMZN)  Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.

The Menlo Park, Calif., company expects its first commercially available product, Galleri, an early-detection blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer across all stages, to launch next year.

Genome-analysis company Illumina  (ILMN)  holds 14.6% of Grail's pre-offering shares. Johnson & Johnson UK Treasury  (JNJ)  holds 7.6% of the company. 

The Chicago venture-capital firm Arch Venture Partners holds 9.5% of Grail.

Grail was founded by Illumina in 2016, with investments from Arch Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures of Palo Alto, Calif., and Bezos Expeditions, Jeff Bezos's venture investment fund, Reuters reported.

Grail did not say how many shares it would offer in its debut or how much capital it expects to raise. It is seeking to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol GRAL.

But it said it would use the IPO proceeds to fund clinical studies, develop products and prepare to launch operations, and for general purposes. 

Grail has not generated any revenue and does not expect to do so until its products are commercialized.

"Most cancers are still diagnosed too late, predominantly because we lack recommended screening tests for most types of cancers, which are responsible for 71% of cancer deaths," Grail said in its SEC Form S-1.

The company says Galleri in conjunction with the five existing recommended screenings in the U.S. could result in earlier detection of up to 75% of cancers that have less than a 50% five-year survival rate. 

In the U.S., more than 12 million patients are subject to "potentially invasive and time-consuming diagnostic workups." 

Of that population, about 2.4 million are already referred to a specialist doctor for a diagnostic workup, and Grail sees this population as its initial addressable market in the U.S.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Cowen and Evercore are bookrunners for the offering.