Former director at Illumina Inc
- Recent developments around Illumina’s (NASDAQ: ILMN) acquisition of Grail, including outlook, potential integration challenges and liquid biopsy opportunity
- Sequencing industry trends and competitive landscape, including Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ: PACB) and Oxford Nanopore
- Illumina's expansion into clinical genomics and recent partnership with SomaLogic (NASDAQ: SLGC) to expand in proteomic solutions
- 2022 outlook – growth expectations, strategic assessments and AGBT (Advances in Genome Biology and Technology) General Meeting
Illumina has completed the controversial acquisition of Grail despite regulatory oppositions. What is your assessment of this acquisition, particularly its rationale and the growth prospects for both companies?
How would you assess the overall opportunity in the liquid biopsy market? What does the strategy entail for Illumina’s longer-term growth, assuming it can keep Grail under its umbrella?
Could you unpack some of the recent developments unfolding with investigations by the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] and the European Commission?
What is the potential of a fine from the EU? It is speculated that legal repercussions could still move ahead and Illumina and Grail could face fines up to 10% of annual revenue from any potential sales. Can we use any comparisons to inform our expectations? What’s your outlook?
Illumina is committed to driving prices down by more than 40% by 2025. Is this price decrease feasible and do you think it will ease the FTC’s concerns? Will it limit the long-term risk of liquid biopsy customers switching to other providers?
One potential outcome is Illumina having to find alternative routes for Grail, including a risk of having to actually divest Grail in 2025 or 2026. How likely is this outcome when taking previous cases into account? Moreover, how might Illumina balance a shorter-term focus of getting a team and required costs to commercially optimise the Grail portfolio vs long-term, worst-case scenario of having to divest?
Another Forum Interview expert [see Illumina's Pending Grail Acquisition – Expectations Following FTC Pushback – 30 August 2021] suggested Grail might not be the best acquisition target for technologies or commercial capabilities in the liquid biopsy market, and that there has been a lot of similar criticism, particularly with the Galleri launch in Q2 2021. What areas can Illumina address now, technology aside, and what commercial capabilities could lead to uptick more broadly?
What are your longer-term expectations for Illumina and its ability to diversify beyond short-read sequencing? How essential is the Grail acquisition for this? Would you agree with our other expert’s suggestion that there is potential to enter proteomics? Do you think that’s a market-driven suggestion or would you expect a more favourable dynamic when a proposed acquisition comes along?
What are your broader expectations for Illumina’s new technology launches, Infinity and Chemistry X, which should further improve the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of genetic testing? How might this influence more customers to choose Illumina, especially given its commitment to delivering the platform at 10x lower cost than other providers?
You briefly touched on the Infinity technology for long-read compared to PacBio, but how competitive is this technology vs Oxford Nanopore?
Do you think the Chemistry X technology will be compatible with existing instruments? What new applications does this Chemistry allow?
What is your outlook for Illumina’s multiple collaborations? One to highlight is SomaLogic to develop sequencing-based proteomic solutions. What is most exciting to you?
Do you have any expectations or further commentary about Galleri?
How should we assess Illumina’s M&A outlook given the company’s size, last year’s blocked PacBio proposal and now the FTC and European Commission’s pushback on the Grail reacquisition?
What do you think of Ultima? You mentioned Omniome and Element but which other emerging players excite you?
What are your thoughts on BGI and the ongoing lawsuits?
What is your overall longer-term outlook for Illumina? What should we monitor?
Is there anything you’re excited about for this year’s AGBT [Advances in Genome Biology and Technology] General Meeting?
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