Exact Sciences Corp. stock climbed nearly 15 percent Monday after the Madison cancer diagnostics company offered preliminary results for the last three months of 2018 that topped projections, showing more than 930,000 people used Exact’s Cologuard home test kit for colorectal cancer last year.
Revenue for the October-December quarter will likely come in at $142.5 million to $143.5 million, the company said. That’s 64 percent higher than the 2017 fourth quarter, when the company took in $87.4 million.
For all of 2018, Exact said it projects revenue of $454 million to $455 million — a 71 percent increase over 2017.
About 292,000 people used Cologuard DNA stool home test kits for colorectal cancer during the fourth quarter of 2018. For the full year, Exact processed 934,000 completed Cologuard tests, up from 571,000 in 2017 and 244,000 in 2016.
“2018 was a landmark year for Exact Sciences,” said Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO. “We helped more than 930,000 people get screened for colorectal cancer, launched a partnership with Pfizer to help bring Cologuard to more patients and scaled our operations to meet rising demand.”
Exact said during the fourth quarter, nearly 15,000 health care providers ordered Cologuard for the first time. In the four years since Cologuard was approved by federal regulators, nearly 147,000 providers have written Cologuard on their prescription pad.
Financial analyst Brian Weinstein, with the William Blair investment firm, said Cologuard use in the last few months of 2018 was well above Exact’s earlier projection of 268,000.
“We believe the fourth-quarter result caps off a year of strategic wins for the company,” Weinstein wrote in a research note.
He said the Pfizer connection could be one reason for the jump in the number of physicians ordering Cologuard. In an agreement announced last August, drug giant Pfizer committed to working with Exact to market Cologuard. Each company pledged to spend more than $65 million over three years to promote the DNA stool test.
Conroy said in 2019, Exact expects to open a new clinical lab, under construction just off Schroeder Road; to integrate its ordering system into Epic Systems Corp. software; and to move forward with its pipeline of liquid biopsy tests. Exact has said it is working to develop tests to diagnose a host of cancer targets, with a blood test for liver cancer high on its agenda.
Exact shares closed Monday at $75.36, up $9.71, or 14.8 percent above Friday’s close of $65.65. Over the past year, the stock has ranged from $37.36 to $82.85 a share.
Exact has about 1,900 employees, including 1,500 in the Madison area.
The company plans to disclose its complete fourth-quarter and full-year financial results in February. For 2017, Exact reported $266 million in revenue with a net loss of $114.4 million.