Grail, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of blood tests to detect cancer at its earliest stages, has raised $900 million in Series B funding. ARCH Venture Partners and includes Johnson & Johnson Innovation co-led the round, which could grow even larger with Goldman Sachs serving as placement agent. Other backers include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Celgene, Tencent, Amazon, McKesson and Varian Medical Systems.

Why it's a big deal: Liquid biopsies are so hot right now. Just yesterday we noted that Freenome had raised $65 million for its own efforts. The potential breakthrough is screening otherwise-healthy people for cancer, which should significantly improve treatment efficacy. The complications include reimbursement and the medical argument that unncessary biopsies (i.e., for those healthy folks who don't have cancer in their furure) are needlessly dangerous.

Bottom line: "Grail needs the huge war chest to fund an exceedingly difficult quest. It is conducting large, long trials to test the worth of a blood test meant to catch cancer when it's most treatable—long before patients show any symptoms—by detecting fragments of cancer DNA shed by tumors." — Ben Fidler

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Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

3 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.