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Grail

The lab will use its phlebotomy network to help Grail with specimen collection for its Galleri multi-cancer early detection blood test, slated to launch this year.

Backed by large public companies and growing prospective data, the first molecular blood tests to screen for multiple cancers are approaching commercialization.

The company aims to use the methylation technology from its multi-cancer screening assay to detect minimal residual disease in early-stage cancer patients.

Illumina's acquisition of Grail, Exact Sciences' acquisition of Thrive Earlier Detection, and Invitae's acquisition of ArcherDx all topped out at over $1 billion.

In a note to investors, Piper Sandler analysts wrote that the upgrade reflects increased confidence in Grail and Illumina's core next-generation sequencing business.

Blood samples

The test uses a targeted methylation sequencing panel to detect more than 50 cancer types across all stages and pinpoint a cancer's tissue of origin.

The firm presented initial study results from the test, which identifies six cancers, showing overall sensitivity at 86 percent and specificity of 95 percent.

The investment firm said that Grail's revenue trajectory is uncertain, and given the firm's operating loss, it will significantly dilute Illumina's earnings.

Along with the downgrade, the investment bank also lowered its December 2021 price target for Illumina from $390 to $280.

Illumina thinks the next-generation sequencing cancer testing market will grow to $75 billion over the next 15 years, driven by screening.

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