Illumina has closed the acquisition of GRAIL, a US-based healthcare company focused on developing diagnostic tests for early detection for multiple cancers, in a deal worth $8bn.

The US biotech firm will operate GRAIL as a separate entity, as the transaction is currently under European Commission (EC)’s regulatory review.

In September last year, Illumina has initially announced its intention to acquire GRAIL, which was spun out by the company in 2016.

Last month, EC has launched an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of GRAIL, under the EU merger regulation, whose result is expected after the deal expires.

The EC said that the proposed acquisition may reduce competition for the cancer detection tests based on sequencing technologies in the emerging markets.

Illumina stated that there is no legal impediment to acquiring GRAIL in the US.

The company said that it is committed to working through the ongoing FTC administrative process, and will stick to any kind of outcome reached in the US courts.

Illumina chief executive officer Francis deSouza said: “Just as we are now able to screen for early-stage diabetes and high cholesterol, we will soon be able to conduct multi-cancer early detection with a simple blood test in your doctor’s office.

“Since early detection of cancer saves lives, this new genomic test will be nothing short of transformational for human health and the economics of healthcare.”

Illumina said that GRAIL has no operations in the EU, and it believes that the EC does not have jurisdiction to review the merger as the EU merger thresholds are not met.

The General Court of the European Union is anticipated to hear the company’s jurisdictional challenge later in this year.

GRAIL’s Galleri test, which detects 50 different cancers before they are symptomatic, is currently available in market, but costs $950 as it is not covered by insurance.

Illumina believes that the business combination will provide a fastest way to make the test widely available and affordable to the patients.

GRAIL chief executive officer Hans Bishop said: “The merger with Illumina will get the Galleri test to people far faster. We aim to accelerate this process so the test will be available in doctors’ offices everywhere, fully reimbursed.

“A one-year acceleration of access to the Galleri test for the US population has the potential to save 10,000 lives over a 9-year period.”