Exact sciences riding high after rebounding from rough patch madison wisconsin business news host.madison.com blood test cancer markers

It had planned to move its offices Downtown as part of the $200 million Judge Doyle Square project. Exact had more than 700 employees then — including 425 in the Madison area — and promised to add at least 400 well-paying jobs at the site just south of Capitol Square. Its Cologuard DNA stool test had been on the market for one year, and about 100,000 patients were expected to use the home kits in 2015.

But the massive development project — which also included a hotel, commercial space and parking — grew increasingly contentious, as opponents questioned Exact Sciences’ long-term viability and railed at the request for $46.7 million in public money, including $12 million to help Exact relocate from the West Side.

This year, Exact expects to process 470,000 completed Cologuard tests. The company’s stock recently hit an all-time high of nearly $39 a share.


Exact held a secondary stock sale in June of 7 million shares at $35 a share, netting the company $238 million, with the possibility of selling 1 million more shares by mid-July.

“Being on this mission to help win the war against cancer is incredibly exciting,” Conroy said. “In particular, working in the research and development facility brings you really close to the advancement that we’re making to be able to detect cancer really early from a simple blood draw.”

The research and development center is at 501 Charmany Drive. Exact bought it in June 2015 for just under $4.9 million, according to the city assessor’s office records. Its value is assessed at $7.4 million. The purchase came even as the company was negotiating to move its headquarters Downtown.

Two weeks ago, construction began to expand Exact’s lab at 145 E. Badger Road, where completed Cologuard tests are analyzed. The lab, completed in mid-2014, can process 1.25 million tests a year; Exact wants to push capacity to 2 million tests a year, Conroy said.

He said the use of the test as a screening tool is having an impact. A study by USMD Health System in the Dallas area, published in January, showed of 347 patients who had not been tested for colon cancer and used Cologuard, 51 tested positive for DNA markers. Forty-nine of them went on to have diagnostic colonoscopies: Four were found with early-stage cancer and 21 had pre-cancerous polyps. Pipeline products

In the works, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, are screening tests known as liquid biopsies for more types of cancer. In early research, blood tests for lung and liver cancer and cyst fluid tests for pancreatic cancer all have been more than 90 percent accurate in finding cancers, the company said.

Exact Sciences has not publicly said when it expects to make money. But at least one financial analyst is projecting profitability in the second half of 2019. In a June 14 research note, Mark Massaro, of Canaccord Genuity, said it’s possible the company could make a profit in the second quarter of 2019 if it cuts expenses about $30 million a year, mainly by trimming TV advertising.

“I don’t believe that the city should invest in high-risk enterprises,” Ahrens said. If the project had gone through before Exact’s stock price plunged, “we would have had a two-block wide, three-story deep hole in the ground and debts for tens of millions of dollars. … It would have been a financial catastrophe for the city and possibly for Exact,” he said.