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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Illumina completed its $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of liquid biopsies for early cancer detection.

Why it matters: This is Illumina shoving its thumb in the eye of U.S. antitrust regulators, who in March sued to block the deal. An administrative court trial is set to begin next week, but the FTC had dropped an earlier injunction request because it (wrongly) believed a European regulatory review would prevent the merger from closing.

Backstory: Grail was developed inside of Illumina, but spun out in 2017 and raised around $2 billion from firms like Arch Venture Partners, J&J, Ally Bridge Group, Hillhouse Capital Group and 6 Dimensions Capital. Illumina retained nearly a 15% stake.

The bottom line: "The company said there was no legal impediment to closing the transaction now, and said it moved to do so to prevent regulatory proceedings from killing the deal by running out the clock." — Brent Kendall, WSJ

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Illumina CEO on closing a merger the FTC sued to block

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza. PPhoto by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza tells Axios that his company is not trying to defy U.S. or European regulators by completing its $7.1 billion purchase of cancer testing company Grail, despite doing so amidst ongoing government reviews.

Why it matters: Illumina argues that the merger could make early cancer detection more affordable and widely available, but there are concerns that it could be anticompetitive.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.