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An unexpected discovery unlocks a major breakthrough for changing lives at population scale

An Unexpected Discovery


We didn’t start off looking for a way to detect cancer.

In 2015, Illumina’s non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) unexpectedly detected genomic abnormalities in pregnant mothers that were unrelated to the health of their children. The test detected cell-free DNA from cancer present in the mother’s blood.

In 2016, Illumina spun out a separate entity to focus on researching this incredible discovery, naming it GRAIL because the co-founders believed a simple blood test could be the “holy GRAIL” of cancer detection. With a focus on scientific excellence, transparency, and a vision for what was possible, we raised the funds required to pursue this revolutionary idea.

  • March: $1B Series B funding announced after initial $100M Series A. GRAIL acquires Cirina and key methylation IP
  • April: GRAIL initiates the STRIVE study to advance development of blood tests to detect cancer early

A Major Breakthrough 


We saw new possibilities, and dared ourselves to pursue a bold vision.

How can one breakthrough unlock others? Through research and early clinical data, we learned to pivot our focus from screening for individual cancers to screening for multiple cancers, pioneering the multi-cancer early detection (MCED) category.

This inspired an even greater sense of urgency to build the foundation for gathering and sharing clinical study data. To pursue our mission of detecting cancer early, when it can be cured, we scaled our operations, expanded to the UK, and assembled the team that would elevate GRAIL to the next level.


Life Changing Advances 


We saw how our work could change the cancer continuum.

We expanded our clinical capabilities by building a presence in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC. We announced a partnership with the UK government to broaden our global impact.

We announced collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies and began testing Post-Diagnosis (PDx) and Diagnostic Aid for Cancer (DAC) models. We celebrated the commercial launch of Galleri®, the first-of-its-kind multi-cancer early detection test. 

Population-Scale Impact

2022 and beyond 

Together, we are changing the world.

As we scaled, we kept patients as our top priority. We shifted our focus to the audacious goal of redefining the status quo of cancer detection, which requires broad-scale engagement with the healthcare ecosystem, from patients and providers, to partners and payers.

We pursued partnerships to improve cancer detection rates for underserved populations and those at higher risk for cancer, such as veterans. We navigated political and regulatory landscapes, and made progress in our mission by attracting talent, partners, and customers committed to creating a better tomorrow.

  • January: GRAIL introduces state-of-the-art methylation-based solution to accelerate cancer research in the post-diagnosis setting
  • June: SYMPLIFY results presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference, showing promise as Diagnostic Aid for Cancer.
  • June: The Lancet Oncology publishes results from SYMPLIFY, the first prospective study of a multi-cancer early detection test in a symptomatic patient population
  • June: GRAIL announces 100,000 commercial Galleri test reports delivered to patients 
  • August: Whitman-Walker Institute, Cancer Support Community and GRAIL collaborate on research aimed at advancing health equity in cancer screening and care through multi-cancer early detection
  • October: Final results from PATHFINDER study of GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection blood test published in The Lancet
  • November: GRAIL to initiate REACH study to evaluate clinical impact of Galleri® multi-cancer early detection test among the Medicare population

What’s next?

We’re focused on reaching more patients around the globe and providing transformative solutions across the entire cancer continuum, from screening and detection to risk stratification, biomarker subtyping, treatment, and recurrence monitoring.