Exact Sciences’ Conroy praises ‘great news’ as federal panel reverses position

By Polo Rocha, WisBusiness.com

Kevin Conroy, Exact SciencesExact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy is hailing the “great news” from a federal task force, which reversed its preliminary position on the company’s colon cancer test.

That earlier position last year slashed the Madison company’s stock price by half. But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force yesterday backtracked, releasing a final recommendation that’s likely to help the company’s Cologuard test get more private insurer coverage.

“That’s really wonderful news,” Conroy said at an investor conference in Chicago.

Last year, the task force’s preliminary recommendation didn’t recommend Cologuard as a screening method, instead listing it as an alternative.

It’s really, really hard to get a new screening test to become the standard of care. And, as of today, we think Cologuard is now part of that process.

– Kevin Conroy

Cologuard lets people send stool samples to Exact Sciences labs, where its employees screen the samples for signs of colon cancer. Conroy said last year he’d work with the task force to try to change its recommendation, though he repeatedly said he didn’t expect those requests would amount to anything.

The task force yesterday acknowledged concerns that the “recommended” and “alternative” terms “lacked clarity and were confusing to interpret.”

It removed those terms to “better communicate the primary message of importance” — that there’s strong evidence colon cancer screenings are good for those between 50 and 75 years old.

The task force of prevention experts — and Exact Sciences — is trying to ensure more Americans get screened for colon cancer, as one third of eligible adults aren’t screened. So the task force chose not to rank the multiple screening options available, saying there’s no “one size fits all” approach to screening and that patients need to make individual decisions with their doctors. Read more …

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