Exact Sciences stock boomeranged on heavy trading Wednesday, taking an early 20 percent leap and later, dipping below Tuesday’s close to end the day at $9.33, down 6 cents a share.
The trading whirlwind hit after news leaked that Cologuard will be viewed on the same level as other colorectal cancer screening tests instead of being designated as an “alternative.”
The news came from an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that was released prematurely by an unidentified source, said BTIG analyst Sean Lavin, in a report in Investor’s Business Daily.
The JAMA article, made public later in the day, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has revised its final report on screening tests for colorectal cancer and highly recommends that people between the ages of 50 and 75 are screened for the illness, but it no longer ranks the different types of tests.
Analyst Catherine Ramsey said the main update in the task force’s recommendation is that “while USPSTF acknowledges advantages/disadvantages of each screening method, it states there’s no empirical evidence that one test is better than another, removing Cologuard’s ‘alternative’ label.”
With the update, Madison-based Exact Sciences will have “greater leverage” when contracting with insurance companies to pay for the test, Ramsey wrote in a research note Wednesday.
“We’re pleased with the clarity of these recommendations and expect they will expand and promote utilization of Cologuard as an innovative colon cancer screening option,” said Kevin Conroy, Exact Sciences CEO and chairman.
The recommendations recognize Cologuard for use every three years.
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $12 from $9 and called the report “long-awaited great news for Exact Sciences,” in an analyst note, TheStreet reported.
BTIG’s Lavin affirmed a “buy” rating for Exact stock with a price target of $9, Investors Business Daily said, and Jefferies raised its price target to $13 from $9.39.
Last October, the USPSTF issued draft guidelines that listed Exact’s non-invasive, blood- and DNA-based stool test, Cologuard, as an alternative test, useful in “select clinical circumstances,” rather than one of the main screening tests suggested.
The company’s stock fell nearly 50 percent in response to the draft report.
On Wednesday, Exact stock hit a high of $11.24 in early trading, up nearly 20 percent from Tuesday’s close at $9.39 a share, but then fell as much as 6 percent below the previous day, to $8.83 before closing at $9.33.
More than 39 million shares changed hands, almost 20 times the average trading volume over the past three months of 2 million shares a day.