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DNA sequencing giant Illumina is suing Guardant Health, a firm that has become both its customer and rival, claiming that the patents at the core of Guardant’s quest to detect cancer with a simple blood draw are based on confidential information stolen from the genomics company.

San Diego-based Illumina filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in which it says that Guardant’s co-founders, who are former Illumina employees, siphoned off tens of thousands of Illumina documents while creating their company. Illumina is looking to be included on Guardant’s key patents; it’s also asking for royalties, payment for lost profits, and other forms of compensation.


Guardant has a sharply different version of events, arguing that Illumina’s claims have no merit and that the sequencing juggernaut is trying to quash the company for voicing concerns over the acquisition of Grail, a rival that has also developed a test that spots cancer early.

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