Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

U.S. lawmakers question FTC's efforts to stop Illumina's deal for Grail

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The offices of gene sequencing company Illumina Inc are shown in San Diego, California January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Two Republican lawmakers on Thursday questioned the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to unwind life science company Illumina Inc's (ILMN.O) $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail Inc (GRAL.O), alleging the regulator was not following a normal path in its work.

Members of Congress Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa wrote in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan that agency actions related to the deal require congressional oversight, demanding documents related to the FTC's work.

"The FTC's approach to the Illumina-GRAIL merger departs from its typical enforcement process and raises questions about the Commission's interference in the case," the Sept. 2 letter said.

The FTC confirmed it received the letter but declined further comment.

Among their complaints, the members of Congress alleged that the FTC filed for an injunction in federal court to give it time to litigate the case before the FTC's own internal administrative court "to avoid speedily resolving novel legal issues under U.S. law in a forum - federal district court - where the FTC was more likely to lose."

The FTC has argued that cancer test detection company Grail and its competitors rely on San Diego, California-based Illumina's DNA sequencing technology. They alleged that Illumina's purchase of Grail would give the company the "incentive and ability to foreclose downstream rivals." read more

Reporting by Chris Sanders; Editing by Mark Porter

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