Rafael Henrique | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Republican lawmakers, state attorneys general and several advocacy groups have expressed their support Illumina Acquisition of cancer test developer Grail as the FTC struggles to undo the deal.

The 14 groups filed brief amicus briefs on Monday urging the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Federal Trade Commission order that would have caused Illumina to void the $7.1 billion Grail deal over concerns it was stifling competition. Last week, the San Diego-based DNA sequencing company resume Agency rule.

Supporters of the deal argued in court filings that the FTC had overstepped its authority in trying to disengage, which has been closed for nearly two years. They added that preventing companies from merging could harm the development of life-saving technology.

“Unaccountable federal agency power undermines liberty, and excessive and unfair agency enforcement impedes technological progress that benefits the welfare of citizens,” attorneys general from 12 states said in one of the briefs.

These states are Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Thirty-four Republicans have promoted the Grill Act Early screening test, which can detect more than 50 types of cancer with a single blood draw. The test is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but it has had limited sales over the past year.

The lawmakers argued that Grail needs Illumina to gain regulatory approval and commercialize production of the test, which are “needed steps to bring the full benefits of these tests to the public and detect cancer as quickly as possible.”

The Federal Trade Commission declined to comment on the filings.

The deal faced widespread opposition. Last year, the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, blocked acquisition, citing similar competition concerns. Illumina has appealed this matter.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns a 1.4% stake in Illumina, launched a proxy battle with the company over the Grail deal.

Illumina shareholders voted to remove its chairman late last month. The company’s CEO, Francis de Souza, resigned on Sunday, after weeks of harsh backlash from Icahn.

Icahn’s opposition stemmed from Illumina’s decision to close the acquisition without first obtaining approval from antitrust regulators.


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