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Exact Sciences (EXAS) Reveals Promising Data on Cologuard

·4 min read

Exact Sciences Corporation EXAS recently presented modeling data that shows Cologuard (mt-sDNA) as the most cost-effective colorectal cancer (CRC) detection and screening option at the 2021 Digestive Disease Week annual meeting. The latest outcome is expected to augment the company’s position in the rapidly growing cancer diagnostics space.

For investors’ note, Cologuard is an FDA-approved non-invasive stool-based DNA (sDNA) screening test that utilizes a multi-target approach to detect DNA and hemoglobin biomarkers associated with colorectal cancer and pre-cancer. It evaluates risk in adults aged 45 years and above by detecting certain DNA markers and blood in the stool.

Cologuard-FIT Favorable Comparison

Analysis of real-world patient adherence data was based on the CRC-AIM microsimulation modeling platform. The outcome demonstrated Cologuard’s cost-effectiveness and ability to bring significant reduction in CRC incidence and mortality, compared to fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT).

Cologuard tests are also more likely to predict colorectal neoplasia than either FIT positivity or screening colonoscopy. Per data obtained from New Hampshire Colonoscopy Registry, in a follow-up colonoscopy, 1.7% of patients with a positive Cologuard test, 1.6% of patients with positive FIT and 0.3% of patients who underwent screening colonoscopy were diagnosed with CRC.

Industry Prospects

CRC is a cause of grave concern for physicians, accounting for the second-highest cancer deaths in the United States. This is partly due to delay in cancer detection until later stages when treatment becomes less effective.

Per a report published in Fact.MR, the global colorectal cancer diagnostics market is expected to see a CAGR of 8.5% during 2017- 2022. Increasing prevalence of the disease, improved diagnosis tests, diagnosis-associated therapies, growing geriatric population and several initiatives by private and government organizations to provide better care for colorectal cancer are key factors fuelling market growth.

Given its non-invasive nature and at-home convenience, Cologuard is an ideal solution for the 44 million at-risk Americans who require screening.

Notable Developments

Among the company’s latest developments, in February 2021, Exact Sciences entered into an agreement to acquire Ashion Analytics, LLC, from The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Ashion, with its deep sequencing capabilities and genomic cancer tests, is anticipated to expand Exact Sciences' precision oncology portfolio and serve more patients across the cancer continuum. The acquisition was reportedly completed in April.

In January 2021, the company announced the completion of the takeover of Thrive Earlier Detection Corporation. This buyout is expected to integrate Thrive's early-stage screening test, CancerSEEK, with Exact Sciences' scientific platform, clinical organization and commercial infrastructure to develop a more accurate test. Widespread adoption of this potentially life-saving advancement would help the company establish itself as a leading competitor in blood-based, multi-cancer screening.

Share Price Performance

The stock has outperformed its industry over the past year. It has grown 36.0% against the industry’s decline of 6.3 %.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Currently, Exact Sciences carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better ranked stocks from the broader medical space include PetIQ, Inc. PETQ, Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. CPSI, and Illumina, Inc. ILMN.

PetIQ, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 25.00%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Computer Programs and Systems, which carries a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 14.00%.

Illumina, which carries a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.00%.

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