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Illumina, the DNA sequencing giant, said Wednesday it has closed its $8 billion purchase of Grail, a cancer diagnostics firm, even though the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued to block the deal and the European Union is investigating it.

Grail is developing blood tests that aim to detect multiple types of cancer early, before they become deadly. Illumina is the leading maker of the basic technology on which such tests, which are being developed by multiple firms, are based.


The company said in a press release that the merger “will save lives.” But the deal terms, Illumina said, were set to expire on Dec. 20, before a chance for a full review. “The clock will just run out,” the press release said.

“We felt a moral obligation even to make sure this deal does get through the regulatory process and we feel that by acquiring the company and keeping it separate, we achieve both aims,” said Francis deSouza, Illumina’s CEO, during a conference call. “We get the deal to get its full review through the regulatory process and we respect the process happening through the European Commission by keeping the companies separate.”

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