Illumina in talks to buy cancer testing startup Grail

Sept 16 (Reuters) – Gene sequencing company Illumina Inc is in late talks to buy cancer testing startup Grail Inc, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Grail could fetch more than the $6 billion valuation that it had reached from previous fundraisings, the report said, adding the companies could announce a deal as soon as this week.

Both Illumina and Grail did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Grail, which is developing a blood test to identify early-stage cancers, was founded by Illumina as a separate company in 2016 and is backed by Inc’s founder Jeff Bezos and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

Illumina is the single largest shareholder in Grail with a 14.6% stake, according to the company’s filing for a U.S. listing last week.

In January, Illumina ended its $1.2 billion deal to buy smaller rival Pacific Biosciences of California Inc, after the U.S. competition watchdog filed a complaint to block the purchase.

Shares of Illumina were down 4.8% at $334.9 in morning trading.

(Reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)