Business Insight: A Look at GRAIL

By Durham Chamber of Commerce / Published 10.26.20
Back to Feed

 

GRAIL, headquartered in Menlo Park, California with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom, is a healthcare company focused on saving lives and improving health by pioneering new technologies for early cancer detection. Its mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured. GRAIL is working to change the trajectory of cancer mortality and bring stakeholders together to adopt innovative, safe, and effective technology that can transform cancer care.

Despite significant advances in therapeutics and guideline-recommended tests that screen for five cancer types, cancer still kills nearly 1,700 of our loved ones in the U.S. every day. It is about to become the world’s leading cause of death.

That’s in large part because today, the majority of cancers are detected too late when outcomes are often fatal, because most deadly cancers have no available screening tests. In fact, cancers responsible for 71% of all cancer deaths have no available early detection screening.

That’s why GRAIL has pioneered Galleri™, an earlier version of which detected over 50 types of cancers — over 45 of which lack recommended screening today — with a simple blood draw. Importantly, when cancer is detected, Galleri also identifies where in the body the cancer is located with high accuracy. This is critical to guide next steps for diagnostics and care.

Existing screening tests are essential, and GRAIL’s test is not a substitute; it supplements them. Based on performance data in early clinical studies, GRAIL believes that using its multi-cancer early detection test in conjunction with the five existing recommended screenings in the United States could avert many deaths by earlier detection of up to 75% of cancers with less than a 50% five-year survival rate. Galleri is a ground-breaking and potentially life-saving advancement, and with it and through earlier cancer detection, GRAIL believes it has the potential to reduce the human and economic toll of cancer by enabling more successful, less costly treatment.

GRAIL recently announced an additional laboratory and office space in Durham that are scheduled to open in 2021, which, at scale, is expected to employ 500-700 people across 2-3 shifts. This is in addition to its existing 430 employees.

GRAIL is thrilled to join the Durham community which was selected in large part because of its significant pool of skilled and passionate science and engineering talent as well as innovative spirit. Expanding to the second site in North Carolina allows GRAIL to scale its operations, which will enable the company to deliver its test broadly to patients and providers while allowing them to continuously develop innovative products.

COVID-19 has reiterated the importance of prevention and early detection technology, and of cancer screening even in times of crisis. GRAIL believes there is a major impact a multi-cancer early detection blood test could have on adherence, access, and outcomes.

A simple blood test like Galleri is a groundbreaking and potentially life-saving advancement. It could help provide access to cancer screening for many people by reducing some of the barriers that often prevent them from seeking preventative screenings: invasiveness, inconvenience, cost, and access.

GRAIL’s culture is described as patient-focused, ambitious, humble, data driven, and collaborative. It’s team’s passion for developing potentially life-saving technologies is at the core of what they do and why they do it. Achieving this goal takes unparalleled amounts of clinical data. It takes significant bioinformatics computing power. Most of all, it takes an audacious, committed team of diverse individuals, from software engineers and genomic biologists to product marketing experts and beyond. GRAIL is committed to building the best team to take on healthcare’s most important challenges. To learn more and view open roles, visit www.grail.com.