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Illumina Scoops Up Bezos-Backed Cancer-Detection Company Grail

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Healthcare company Illumina (ILMN) - Get Report is acquiring the remaining majority stake in Jeff Bezos-backed gene-sequencing company Grail that it doesn’t already own for $8 billion in cash and stock.

The early stage cancer-detection healthcare company, backed by Amazon's (AMZN) - Get Report billionaire founder, confirmed on Monday that it will acquire Grail for $3.5 billion in cash and $4.5 billion in shares, giving it access to Grail's specialized blood testing technology platform for early cancer detection.

llumina launched Grail as a separate company in 2016 to allow it to focus on developing data science and machine learning technology that screens for early stage cancers, which in turn can help medical professionals diagnose and treat the disease before its progression becomes harmful or deadly.

The platform, called Galleri, has so far been able to detect more than 50 cancer types, over 45 of which have no recommended screening in the U.S. Galleri is expected to launch commercially in 2021 as a multi-cancer, laboratory developed test for early cancer detection from blood, the companies said.

Grail earlier this month filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. Illumina holds 14.6% of Grail's pre-offering shares, while Johnson & Johnson UK Treasury (JNJ) - Get Report holds 7.6% of the company. Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Report Bill Gates is also an investor, as is Merck (MRK) - Get Report

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