Grail to raise $1B on blood test to detect cancer

Grail is looking to expand its clinical validation of blood test for early-stage cancer detection through a venture capital investment of $1 billion.

In a news release, the company said it will use the proceeds for continued development of its blood-based test for cancer screening, which will require large-scale clinical trials including the previously announced Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas study as well as other trials that are expected to sequence hundreds of thousands of patients.

“We founded Grail a year ago to enable early cancer detection via a blood-based screening test powered by Illumina sequencing technology,” said Jay Flatley, Executive Chairman of Illumina and current Chairman of Grail. “This raise, when completed, will provide Grail the resources to develop its first products and embark on the large-scale trials required to demonstrate the stringent performance requirements of a cancer screening test.”

Grail is a life sciences company whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured. Grail combines the power of high-intensity sequencing (ultra-broad and ultra-deep sequencing), leading-edge computer science, and large population-scale clinical studies to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology and develop a blood test for early-stage cancer detection.

The company has secured more than $100 million in Series A financing — first significant round of venture capital financing — from Illumina and ARCH Venture Partners, with participating investors including Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates, Sutter Hill Ventures, and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

“We are very excited about the progress the Grail team has made in the last year,” said Francis deSouza, President and Chief Executive Officer of Illumina. “This capital allows Grail to take on the significant technology, market, and regulatory challenges of developing and validating a blood-based cancer screening test.

“This outcome maximizes value to Illumina by creating one of our largest customers of sequencing instruments and consumables over time, providing royalties on future Grail tests and through appreciation of our ownership interest.”

Grail’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Huber, added, “We are honored to have world-class investors who support our goal of reducing global cancer mortality through early detection — especially the invaluable support we received from Illumina during our start-up phase — and we look forward to the next phase of our growth.”