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Tech and Biotech: Exact Sciences is adding a second site; Madison techies gain celebrity status: Iristocracy gains funding

Tech and Biotech: Exact Sciences is adding a second site; Madison techies gain celebrity status: Iristocracy gains funding

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Exact Sciences is wasting no time as it waits to hear if its Cologuard test for colorectal cancer will be approved by federal regulators.

The Madison company, at 441 Charmany Drive in University Research Park, is quietly establishing a laboratory at 145 E. Badger Road, at the Alexander Co.’s Novation Campus in the town of Madison.

Exact spokesman Rod Hise confirmed the lab addition on Friday but would not say much else about the project. He did say, though, it will supplement — not replace — the company’s West Side location, which has about 100 employees.

Exact Sciences has developed a stool-based, non-invasive test for colorectal cancer. In a clinical trial of 10,000 patients, Cologuard correctly found colorectal cancer in 92 percent of the cases and identified 42 percent of pre-cancerous polyps, according to a preliminary analysis of the data, the company said in April.

Exact submitted the last of its three-part application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June; there’s been no word on how long it might take to get an FDA decision on the screening test.

Exact officials are not saying yet if the lab will be used to manufacture, assemble or process the tests — or all of the above.

Shares of the publicly traded company closed Friday at $11.09, down 5 cents. The stock has sold for $6.93 to $14.70 a share over the last 52 weeks.

Madison tech startup

stars get


Murfie music marketplace co-founders Preston Austin and Matt Younkle. 100State coworking nonprofit CEO Joe Sweeney. Sector67 maker space co-founder Chris Meyer. The Art Commission artwork matchup co-founder Toni Sikes.

They are among 53 Madison area tech entrepreneurs singled out by Madison Magazine in its November issue as the M List — the current movers and shakers of the local tech community, like an A List of tech ’treps.

On Thursday, Madison Magazine and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce saluted the chosen ones, inviting the public to a self-guided Startup Crawl, capped by a reception at the Majestic Theatre that featured Hugh Forrest, director of South by Southwest Interactive, the annual music/film/tech explosion that dominates Austin, Texas, for a week and a half.

The 53 tech stars also were feted at a breakfast at L’Etoile that included eggs Benedict with prosciutto and very freshly squeezed orange juice. “It was darn good,” said Natasha Vora, founder of Iristocracy.

Vora said she felt honored to be part of the M List and pleased to see the tech startup community get some attention. “It felt good to be recognized as an entrepreneur in the city,” she said.

Vora and Sikes were two of only seven women of the 53 people named to the M List. “I noticed that right away,” said Vora.

Traditionally, men do dominate the tech startup community, but Vora said she is starting to see more people acknowledge the need to support women in the field. Still, she said, there’s that “philosophical question” for many women: work or family? And that may be keeping some women from venturing into the risky and time-gobbling entrepreneurial world, Vora said.

Iristocracy closes
funding round

Vora has another milestone to celebrate: Her fashion eyewe ar website, Iristocracy, closed its first seed funding round on Friday, finalizing commitments for $500,000 from individual investors from the Madison area and beyond.

The website,, went live on Sept. 18 with a soft launch. A more publicized, hard launch is expected in mid-November.

The company, at 931 E. Main St., has six employees.

Contact Judy Newman at with tips and story suggestions.


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