The Illumina Campus in San Diego. Courtesy of the compnay

San Diego gene-sequencing powerhouse Illumina announced Monday it will pay $7.1 billion for a startup company developing a blood test that promises early detection of cancer.

GRAIL, which Illumina founded four years ago as a standalone company, is developing a multi-cancer screening test that is expected to be available for clinical use next year.

“Over the last four years, GRAIL’s talented team has made exceptional progress,” said Francis deSouza, Illumina’s president and chief executive officer. “Together, we have an important opportunity to introduce routine and broadly available blood-based screening that enables early cancer detection when treatment can be more effective and less costly.”

An early version of the Menlo Park-based startup’s Galleri blood test was said to be able to detect more than 50 cancer types.

“Combining forces with Illumina enables broader and faster adoption of GRAIL’s innovative, multi-cancer early detection blood test, enhancing patient access and expanding global reach,” said Hans Bishop, chief executive officer of GRAIL.

Illumina said cancer testing is expected to be a $75 billion-a-year market worldwide by 2035.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.