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February 27, 2019 | Exact Sciences Corporation | EXAS

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This week’s Stock of the Week has an innovative product that can help save lives.

Better Testing

Exact Sciences Corporation (EXAS) makes the Cologuard DNA-based screening test for the early detection of colorectal cancer—a noninvasive alternative to colonoscopy, which many people avoid because the preparation required is extended and very unpleasant.

Cologuard, which is covered by insurers and Medicare, requires no special prep. It uses a stool sample that is analyzed at the company’s lab. The company did almost a million tests last year and will do more than a million this year. It also has a new relationship with Pfizer that will expand distribution further. And US health officials recently recommended colorectal screening starting at age 45 for many people, instead of the previous recommended age of 50—another likely usage boost.

Exact Sciences is spending heavily on expansion, so it does not yet show a profit—as is usual for a health-care company at this stage of development. It is working on new products as well—for example, one that could become a liver-biopsy alternative. Revenue was $446 million for 2018 and likely will be $710 million this year and $1 billion in 2020.

Fiscal year: December. Earnings per share: 2020 est./ $0.00…2019 est./(-$1.15)…2018/(-$1.49).

Tom Plumb is president and chief investment officer at Plumb Funds, Madison, Wisconsin, including the $91 million Plumb Balanced Fund (PLBBX) and $38 million Plumb Equity Fund (PLBEX). PlumbFunds.com

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