Grail is a biotechnology company headquartered in Menlo Park, California that was founded as a spinoff of Illumina Inc and initially headed by Jeffrey Huber in 2016, focused on making a medical device that can detect early stage cancer.

Grail is a biotechnology company founded in 2016 as a spinoff of Illumina Inc and initially headed by Jeffrey Huber and is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Grail is developing a blood test capable of detecting early-stage cancer. The company is trying to develop intelligent models capable of producing clinically relevant information for early cancer detection through obtaining large amounts of tumor genome data through high-intensity sequencing and analyzing that data after combining it with results from population-scale clinical trials.

Clinical trials
Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas Study

The Circulating Cell-free genome Atlas Study is designed to help characterize the genomic cancer signals in blood through analyzing cell-free nucleic acid (cfNA) profiles of people living with and without cancer. The study analyzed the results of approximately 15,000 people living in the United States and Canada in 142 locations. All patients enrolled in the study are required to follow up after 5 years to collect their clinical trial data. Grail does not have the final results of the study (as of August 2019) because their study is still in the follow-up phase.


The STRIVE Study enrolled about 100,000 women at the time of their screening mammogram for a prospective, observational, longitudinal, cohort study. During their mammogram the women were asked to fill out a health questionnaire, provide a blood sample, and were told they would be followed up with after five years to obtain their clinical outcome data; which includes cancer diagnosis. The information obtained from the STRIVE Study will be used to validate a blood test for the early detection of several cancer types. The STRIVE Study is currently in the follow-up phase (as of August 2019).


The SUMMIT Study seeks to obtain clinical information regarding people at risk of smoking related cancers to help evaluate and improve their cancer detecting blood test. Approximately 50,000 men and women between the ages of 55 and 75 who did not have any types of cancer at the time of enrolment, and approximately half of the study participants were at high risk for lung and other forms of cancer due to their smoking histories. Participants in the SUMMIT study are required to have an annual check-up following their initial enrolment and will be followed up with after 5 years by using their national health registries and medical records. The SUMMIT Study is still enrolling participants (as of August 2019).

Cirina merger

On May 31, 2017 Grail merged with a Chinese startup called Cirina to help expand its global production capacity. Cirina, which was founded by Dennis Lo of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and raised $12 million in a Series A financing round in 2014, will operate as a subsidiary of Grail.

Series A

On January 12, 2016 Grail closed their series A funding round with $100 million in funding from Illumina, Stutter Hill Ventures, Biomatics Capital Partners, Bezos Expeditions, ARCH Venture Partners, and Bill Gates.

Series B

On November 22, 2017 Grail closed their series B funding round with $1.2 billion in funding from ARCH Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Dentsu Ventures and Glen Kacher.

Series C

On May 21, 2018 Grail closed their series C funding round with $300 million in funding from WuXi NextCode, Sequoia Capital China, IBC International, HuangPu River Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group, China Merchants Securities, Blue Pool Capital, Ally Bridge Group, and 6 Dimensions Capital.


May 2019
Thrive Earlier Detection, which raised over $100 million in May, is another company taking the approach of looking at multiple cancer screens.
May 21, 2018
Series C

$300m -- Total nine investors. 6 Dimensions Capital, Ally Bridge Group, and Hillhouse Capital Group led the round.

May 21, 2018
Grail raises a $300,000,000 series C round from 6 Dimensions Capital, Ally Bridge Group, Hillhouse Capital Group and HuangPu River Capital.
November 22, 2017
Series B

$1.2b -- Total three investors. ARCH Venture Partners led the round.

January 12, 2016
Series A

$100m -- Total of six investors. Illumina was the lead investor.

Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Grail series C funding round
May 21, 2018
3 Results
Results per page:
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Akash Patel


Alex Aravanis

Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D

Angela Lai


Anne-Renee Hartman

Vice President of Clinical Development

Bill Rastetter

Board of Directors

Catherine Friedman

Board of Directors

Charlotte Arnold

Vice President of Corporate Affairs

Fred Kohler

Vice President of People

George Golumbeski

President & Head of Corporate Development and Strategy

Glen Kacher


Hal Barron

Board of Directors

Hans Bishop


Jeff Huber


Jessica Owens

Vice President of Strategy

Joshua Ofman

Chief of Corporate Strategy and External Affairs

Karel Hurka, Jr.


Kaye Foster

Board of Directors

Maykin Ho

Board of Directors

Min Cui

Board of Directors

Minyong Chung


Paige Zeigler


Patrick Broderick

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Richard Klausner

Board of Directors

Robert Nelsen

Board of Directors

Tara Maddala

Vice President of Biostatistics & Data Management

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Further reading


Biotech firm Grail conducting large study for early breast cancer detection

Catherine Ho


January 6, 2019

Forget Hong Kong, Grail is now going for a 2019 IPO in the US -- Bloomberg

Amber Tong


December 5, 2018

GRAIL Announces Positive New Data with Multi-Cancer Early Detection Blood Test from CCGA Study

Grail Press Release


May 31, 2019

The $1 billion bet on the perfect cancer test

Antonio Regalado


What You Need to Know About GRAIL | BioSpace

Mark Terry


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Conor Hale
April 29, 2021
To avoid fighting a two-front, international legal battle over its pursuit of the cancer tester Grail, Illumina has asked judges to step in and halt the European Commission's review of the proposed $8 billion deal.
Melanie Senior
April 1, 2021
Nature Biotechnology
Private biotech firms are awash with funding, raising record-breaking sums in 2020. Melanie Senior reports.
Conor Hale
March 31, 2021
Guess you can't always go home again. The FTC said it would intervene in Illumina's $8 billion acquisition plans for its former spinout, the multi-cancer blood test developer Grail.
Jonathan Shieber
July 24, 2019
One of the major problems that technology companies working to find a cure for cancer need to solve is finding a safe, minimally invasive way to detect cancers early. Almost all cancer screening will eventually require a biopsy, but determining whether that's necessary in the early stages of cancer can mean the difference between life [...]


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