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Jan 22, 201912:20 PMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Catching up on some Wisconsin companies: Epic, Fiserv, and Exact Sciences

(page 2 of 2)

Exact Sciences

The footprint of Exact Sciences in Madison continues to grow physically; the vision for its health care mission has expanded, as well.

Exact Sciences is already well known for Cologuard, its noninvasive test for colorectal cancer. President and CEO Kevin Conroy told the Wisconsin Technology Council board Jan. 15 that about 1.9 million people have used the home testing kit since 2014, helping to pinpoint tens of thousands of early stage cancers or pre-cancerous polyps. There were about 940,000 Cologuard stool tests in the last year alone.

About 40 percent of Americans aren’t screened for colorectal cancer, however, because they don’t want to undergo a colonoscopy. Exact Sciences’ goal is to sharply expand its ability to process tests — well into the millions per year — to close that testing gap.

A major processing laboratory south of Madison’s West Beltline Highway will help handle the demand when it opens this year. Nearby, the former Spectrum Brands building has been “reskinned” with a glass exterior, renovated inside, and occupied. A separate research and development center is being built near two other Exact Sciences facilities in University Research Park; another processing facility is part of the Novation Campus in Fitchburg.

About 2,000 people already work for Exact Sciences, of which 1,500 are in Wisconsin, and Conroy expects that number to grow significantly as the company adds “great, family-supporting jobs.”

Meanwhile, Exact has registered plans for studies to focus on other cancers, such as those that affect human livers, lungs, blood, and more, with much of its clinical work around early stage biomarkers involving the Mayo Clinic. Other partnerships tap into Epic and its expertise in health data systems, and Pfizer for its sales and distribution network.

“It’s the power of the science that really changes lives,” Conroy said. It may be years away, but that science could forge more tools for the cancer-fighting kit.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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