Illumina Forms New Company to Enable Early Cancer Detection via Blood-Based Screening


SAN DIEGO–([1])–Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) today announced GRAIL, a new company formed
to enable cancer screening from a simple blood test. Powered by Illumina
sequencing technology, GRAIL will develop a pan-cancer screening test by
directly measuring circulating nucleic acids in blood.

Detecting cancer at the earliest stages dramatically increases long-term
survival, hence the successful development of a pan-cancer screening
test for asymptomatic individuals would make the first major dent in
global cancer mortality.

GRAIL’s unique structure enables it to take on this grand challenge.
GRAIL has been formed as a separate company, majority owned by Illumina.
GRAIL is initially funded by over $100 million in Series A financing
from Illumina and ARCH Venture Partners, with participating investments
from Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates and Sutter Hill Ventures. GRAIL’s
unique relationship with Illumina provides the ability to economically
sequence at the high depths necessary to create a screening test with
the required sensitivity and a hoped for level of specificity never
before achievable for cancer screening.

“We hope today is a turning point in the war on cancer,” said Jay
Flatley, Illumina Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of
GRAIL. “By enabling the early detection of cancer in asymptomatic
individuals through a simple blood screen, we aim to massively decrease
cancer mortality by detecting the disease at a curable stage.”

“The holy grail in oncology has been the search for biomarkers that
could reliably signal the presence of cancer at an early stage,” said
Dr. Richard Klausner, formerly Illumina Chief Medical Officer and NCI
Director, and a Director of GRAIL. “Illumina’s sequencing technology now
allows the detection of circulating nucleic acids originating in the
cancer cells themselves, a superior approach that provides a direct
rather than surrogate measurement.”

“GRAIL’s rigorous, science-based approach with leading medical and
policy advisors worldwide is unprecedented in the fight to defeat
cancer,” said Robert Nelsen, Managing Director and Co-Founder of ARCH
Venture Partners and a Director of GRAIL.

GRAIL has secured the counsel of a world-class set of industry and
cancer experts for the company’s advisory board, including Dr. Richard
Klausner; Dr. Jose Baselga, Physician In Chief at Memorial Sloan
Kettering and President of the American Association of Cancer Research;
Dr. Brian Druker, Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute; Mostafa
Ronaghi, Chief Technology Officer at Illumina; Don Berry, Professor at
MD Anderson Cancer Center; Timothy Church, Professor at the University
of Minnesota School of Public Health and Charles Swanton, Group Leader
at the Francis Crick Institute. The company will initially have a
five-member Board of Directors, including Jay Flatley, William Rastetter
(Chairman of Illumina), Dr. Richard Klausner, Robert Nelsen, and the
CEO. The company is actively recruiting a CEO.

About Illumina

Illumina is improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome.
Our focus on innovation has established us as the global leader in DNA
sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the
research, clinical and applied markets. Our products are used for
applications in the life sciences, oncology, reproductive health,
agriculture and other emerging segments. To learn more, visit www.illumina.com[2] and
follow @illumina.

About GRAIL – Learn more at Grailbio.com.

Forward-Looking Statement for Illumina

This release contains forward looking statements that involve risks and
uncertainties, such as Illumina’s expectations for the performance and
utility of products to be developed by GRAIL. Important factors that
could cause actual results to differ materially from those in any
forward-looking statements include challenges inherent in developing,
manufacturing, and launching new products and services and the other
factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, including our most recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, or
in information disclosed in public conference calls, the date and time
of which are released beforehand. We do not intend to update any
forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

References

  1. ^ (www.businesswire.com)
  2. ^ www.illumina.com (cts.businesswire.com)

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