Products: Exact Sciences is a molecular diagnostics company committed to playing a role in the eradication of colorectal cancer, the second deadliest type of cancer in the U.S. As part of this mission, Exact Sciences developed and received FDA approval for Cologuard, the first noninvasive screening test for colorectal cancer that analyzes both stool DNA and blood biomarkers. Cologuard is available by prescription through health care providers. The test offers people 50 and older at average risk for colorectal cancer an easy-to-use screening test they can do in the privacy of their own home
Employees: More than 500
Founded: 1995; moved to Madison from Boston in 2009
Leadership: Kevin Conroy has been president and CEO of Exact Sciences since 2009. He added the role of chairman of Exact Sciences in March 2014. Prior to joining the company, he was president and CEO of Third Wave Technologies, a molecular diagnostics company. Maneesh Arora joined the company in 2009 as CFO and was named COO in 2012.
Market: Colorectal cancer is among the most preventable, yet least detected cancers because nearly half of those who should be screened for the disease have not undergone adequate screening. Exact Sciences believes the large underserved population of unscreened and inadequately screened patients represents a significant opportunity for a patient-friendly, noninvasive test.
Business Success: Upon FDA approval of Cologuard in August 2014, Exact Sciences also received a proposed coverage memorandum from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Cologuard is the first product to take part in the joint FDA and CMS parallel review pilot program in which both agencies simultaneously reviewed medical devices.
Since relocating to Wisconsin in 2009, Exact Sciences has grown from three employees to a team of more than 500. Because of the success of Cologuard, the company in February announced plans to invest more than $26 million in capital expenditures at its Madison facility, a project that calls for hiring more than 750 new employees through 2020. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing up to $9 million in state tax credits to reward the company’s commitment to Wisconsin.
“We moved Exact Sciences to Madison in 2009 because of the state’s strong, dedicated workers and the first-class universities to recruit talent,” Conroy says. “With the FDA’s approval of Cologuard and our pipeline for potential new cancer screening tests, WEDC is offering another incentive to continue growing our team in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: Beyond bringing hundreds of family-supporting jobs to the Madison area, the innovations being developed and commercialized by Exact Sciences exemplify the state’s strong bioscience industry. Wisconsin’s bioscience industry is sizable and growing, as the industry increased employment by 8.2 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to a 2014 report from Battelle/BIO. During that period, double-digit job gains occurred in three of five bioscience sectors: drugs and pharmaceuticals; research, testing and medical labs; and medical device manufacturing. The state has nearly 32,000 jobs in the bioscience and nearly 1,400 companies in the industry, according to the report.