Exact Sciences riding high after rebounding from rough patch

Exact Sciences riding high after rebounding from rough patch

By Judy Newman, Wisconsin State Journal

Exact Sciences Corp.’s fortunes are on the upswing.

Sales of its Cologuard test for colorectal cancer are on the rise, its stock is hitting record highs, and the company has padded its coffers with the sale of even more stock.

Its new research and development center is fully occupied, and Exact is looking for more space to grow.

“Exact Sciences remains confident in the growth of Cologuard and our ability to continue having a positive impact on the community,” said Kevin Conroy, president, CEO and chairman.

It wasn’t that long ago, though — in the fall of 2015 — that Exact Sciences was in a pickle.

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.

A draft report from the prestigious U.S. Preventive Services Task Force added fuel to the fire, rating Cologuard an “alternative” option, not a primary choice, sending Exact Sciences stock plunging nearly 50 percent, below $10 a share.

Exact scuttled its role in the Downtown project in November 2015, opting instead to add to its facilities at University Research Park. Read more …