Supporters of Illumina’s acquisition of cancer-test developer Grail, including Republican lawmakers, state attorneys general, and advocacy groups, have filed 14 amicus briefs urging the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) order to undo the $7.1 billion deal. The FTC has raised concerns about competition and sought to unwind the acquisition, but proponents argue that the agency overstepped its authority and that blocking the merger could hinder the development of life-saving technology.
The briefs highlight that the FTC’s actions undermine liberty and impede technological advancements that benefit citizen well-being. Attorneys general from 12 states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, expressed support for the deal. Additionally, 34 Republican lawmakers emphasized the importance of Grail’s early screening test, which can detect over 50 types of cancers through a single blood draw. They argued that regulatory approval and commercialization of the test by Illumina are necessary steps to deliver its full benefits to the public and detect cancer quickly.
While the deal has faced opposition, including from the European Commission, which blocked the acquisition citing competition concerns, supporters highlight the potential of the partnership to advance cancer detection and treatment. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds a stake in Illumina, launched a proxy fight over the deal, leading to the removal of the chair of Illumina’s board and the resignation of the company’s CEO.
The FTC has declined to comment on the filings, and the outcome of the appeal and ongoing disputes surrounding the acquisition remain uncertain.