Illumina to pay $8B to reacquire cancer blood test maker Grail

Illumina, Inc. and GRAIL, a healthcare company whose mission is focused on multi-cancer early detection, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Illumina will acquire GRAIL for cash and stock consideration of $8 billion upon closing of the transaction. In addition, GRAIL stockholders will receive future payments representing a tiered single digit percentage of certain GRAIL-related revenues. The agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of Illumina and GRAIL.

“Over the last four years, GRAIL’s talented team has made exceptional progress in developing the technology and clinical data required to launch the GalleriTM multi-cancer screening test. Galleri is among the most promising new tools in the fight against cancer, and we are thrilled to welcome GRAIL back to Illumina to help transform cancer care using genomics and our NGS platform,” said Francis deSouza, Illumina’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Together, we have an important opportunity to introduce routine and broadly available blood-based screening that enables early cancer detection when treatment can be more effective and less costly. Multi-cancer early detection is better for patients, their physicians, and payors. As we accelerate our path to clinical leadership and the path to multi-cancer early detection, we will continue to drive significant value creation for our stockholders.”

“Cancer is one of society’s most significant challenges, with most cancer being detected too late,” said Hans Bishop, Chief Executive Officer of GRAIL. “We believe multi-cancer early detection technology could address a tremendous unmet need and reduce the cancer burden worldwide. Combining forces with Illumina enables broader and faster adoption of GRAIL’s innovative, multi-cancer early detection blood test, enhancing patient access and expanding global reach. We are excited about this next step in our journey to transform cancer detection and outcomes and create value for patients and their families and communities, health care providers and payors, employers, and stockholders.”

GRAIL was founded by Illumina in 2016 and was spun out as a standalone company, powered by Illumina’s NGS technology, to develop state-of-the-art data science and machine learning and create the atlas of cancer signals in the blood, enabling multi-cancer early detection tests. GRAIL raised approximately $2 billion to support its innovative technology platform and develop Galleri. An earlier version of Galleri was able to detect more than 50 cancer types, over 45 of which have no recommended screening in the United States. Galleri is expected to launch commercially in 2021 as a multi-cancer, laboratory developed test for early cancer detection from blood. GRAIL plans to follow Galleri with future blood-based tests for cancer diagnosis, detection and post-treatment monitoring of cancer patients.

Strategic Benefits

  • Increases Illumina’s Directly Accessible Total Addressable Market and Offers Multiple Future Growth Opportunities. GRAIL extends Illumina’s portfolio to include cancer screening, diagnosis and cancer monitoring, creating a portfolio of best-in-class, proprietary tests in each of the major oncology testing application areas. Oncology test utilization and payor coverage is accelerating, and the total NGS oncology opportunity is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27% to $75 billion in 2035.
  • Accelerates Adoption of NGS-Based Early Multi-Cancer Detection Test to Reach More Patients Faster. Illumina plans to leverage its global scale, manufacturing and clinical capabilities to support GRAIL’s commercialization efforts, realize the total addressable market potential and drive significant growth in the clinical value chain.
  • Enhances Illumina’s Position in Clinical Genomics. NGS is poised to revolutionize oncology care, and this acquisition allows Illumina to participate more fully in the high value clinical solutions that are enabled by its NGS sequencing technology. With GRAIL, Illumina will continue as a leading sequencing innovator and partner, while also becoming a proprietary test provider.

Transaction Details

Under the terms of the agreement, at closing, GRAIL stockholders (including Illumina) will receive total consideration of $8 billion, consisting of $3.5 billion in cash and $4.5 billion in shares of Illumina common stock, subject to a collar. Illumina currently holds 14.5% of GRAIL’s shares outstanding, and approximately 12% on a fully diluted basis.

The collar on the stock consideration will ensure that GRAIL stockholders excluding Illumina receive a number of Illumina shares equal to approximately $4 billion in value if the 20-trading-day volume weighted average price of Illumina stock as of 10 trading days prior to closing is between $295 and $399. GRAIL stockholders excluding Illumina will receive approximately 9.9 million Illumina shares if the 20-trading-day volume weighted average price of Illumina stock as of 10 trading days prior to closing is above $399 and approximately 13.4 million Illumina shares if the 20-trading-day volume weighted average price of Illumina stock as of 10 trading days prior to closing is below $295. Upon closing of the transaction, current Illumina stockholders are expected to own approximately 93% of the combined company, while GRAIL stockholders are expected to own approximately 7% based on the mid-point of the collar.

The cash consideration to GRAIL stockholders excluding Illumina of approximately $3.1 billion is expected to be funded using balance sheet cash of both Illumina and GRAIL plus up to $1 billion in capital raised through either a debt or equity issuance. In advance of this anticipated issuance, Illumina has obtained financing commitments for a $1.0 billion bridge facility with Goldman Sachs Bank USA.

In connection with the transaction, GRAIL stockholders will also receive contingent value rights, which will entitle holders to receive future payments representing a pro rata portion of certain GRAIL-related revenues each year for a 12-year period. This will reflect a 2.5% payment right to the first $1 billion of revenue each year for 12 years. Revenue above $1 billion each year would be subject to a 9% contingent payment right during this same period. Illumina will offer GRAIL stockholders the option to receive additional cash and/or stock consideration, in an amount to be determined prior to closing, in lieu of the contingent value rights.

We expect the transaction will be accretive to Illumina revenue starting in 2021, and to meaningfully accelerate revenue growth over time.

Source – BusinessWire

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