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Exact Sciences (copy)

Cologuard test samples are prepared for processing at Exact Sciences' lab on Badger Road last year. The Madison company said it processed 334,000 of the DNA stool tests for colorectal cancer during the first three months of 2019, up nearly 80 percent from the same period last year.

More than 100,000 people a month, on average, are being screened for colorectal cancer using Cologuard, the Madison company that makes the diagnostic test disclosed Tuesday.

“Cologuard is changing how Americans get screened for colorectal cancer,” said Exact Sciences Corp. CEO and chairman Kevin Conroy.

Exact Sciences said it processed 334,000 of the DNA-based stool tests during the first quarter of 2019, up 79% from the 186,000 tests that came through in the first three months of 2018.

Revenue was $162 million, up from $90.3 million for last year’s first quarter.

But the company’s loss also widened. Exact Sciences had a net loss of $83.1 million, or 66 cents a share, for the quarter that ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $39.4 million, or 33 cents a share, for the same period of 2018.

Research and development costs rose as the company continued working on new diagnostic products and sales expenses grew as sales staff were added and Exact’s marketing agreement with drug giant Pfizer took full effect.

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A report filed with federal regulators Tuesday showed Exact paid Pfizer $17.6 million for promotion and marketing during the first quarter, plus a $19.2 million service fee based on revenue over a certain level.

The two companies announced a three-year agreement last August that says Pfizer’s sales team will market Cologuard to physicians and will invest $20 million to $25 million a year in promoting the product. Exact said it would match those figures, on top of the annual $80 million it already spends on marketing.

The company projected revenue of $725 million to $740 million for 2019, up from previous estimates of $710 million to $730 million.

Exact has an accumulated deficit of $1.1 billion; it also has $285.2 million in cash and equivalents and $1 billion in marketable securities as of March 31.

Exact’s stock hit a record high of $99.71 in trading Tuesday — more than twice its 52-week low of $47.78 — and closed at $98.69, up 54 cents from the day before. The company’s quarterly report was released after the stock markets closed for the day.

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