Illumina campus in San Diego
A sign on Illumina’s campus in San Diego. Reuters/Mike Blake

Pioneering San Diego genomics leader Illumina announced Thursday that an administrative law judge had cleared its acquisition of spinoff cancer detection test maker Grail.

The ruling rejected the U.S. Federal Trade Commission‘s effort to stop the $7.1 billion deal in the name of competition.

“Reuniting Illumina and Grail will transform the detection and treatment of cancer by facilitating widespread, affordable access to Grail’s life-saving Galleri test. This decision is a step toward making that vision a reality,” said Francis deSouza, Illumina’s chief executive.

Grail was founded and spun off by Illumina seven years ago with the goal of developing an early screening test for multiple types of cancer.

Illumina said Grail now needs scale and expertise to overcome significant hurdles to the widespread adoption of Galleri, including obtaining regulatory approval and insurance reimbursement as well as scaling production and distribution of the test.

“As we’ve stated from the outset, this transaction is pro-competitive, will advance innovation, lower healthcare costs and save lives. We are pleased that, after considering the evidence, the ALJ has reached the same conclusion,” said Charles Dadswell, general counsel for Illumina.

The FTC did not immediately comment on the ruling.

The Ilumina-Grail deal still faces opposition from regulators in Europe.

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