NEW YORK – Exact Sciences reported after the close of the market Tuesday that its first quarter revenues grew 24 percent year over year as the company saw strong growth in both screening and precision oncology revenues.
Exact also raised its full-year revenue guidance to a range of $2.38 billion to $2.42 billion from a previous range of $2.27 billion to $2.31 billion.
CEO Kevin Conroy said during a call with investors that the company now expects to turn profitable by the end of this year, rather than next year, as it had previously projected.
Asked about the sustainability of this new profitability, Conroy said Exact believes it is in a position to both generate profits and grow it simultaneously. "We don't have to make significant trade-offs going forward. We continue to invest right now in a bright future, and if we see opportunities to drive revenue growth by making investments, we'll continue to do that," he said.
For the three months ended March 31, the Madison, Wisconsin-based cancer screening and diagnostics firm reported revenues of $602.5 million compared to $486.6 million a year ago, surpassing analysts' average estimate of $543.5 million.
Core revenue, which excludes revenues from the divested Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score test and COVID-19 testing, as well as foreign currency impacts, grew 33 percent year over year.
Exact's screening revenues, which primarily include laboratory service revenue from Cologuard tests and PreventionGenetics, jumped 45 percent year over year to $443.2 million.
Conroy highlighted health system partnerships as an ongoing catalyst for Cologuard's growth. "Capacity for screening colonoscopies in the US is relatively fixed and health systems are motivated to increase screening rates. We estimate it would take 10 years for gastroenterologists to screen everyone who is due today with colonoscopy alone. Health systems, which represent more than half the market, are recognizing the opportunity to partner with us to address their screening rates and related quality measures," he said.
In this vein, Exact has implemented more than 275 electronic ordering interfaces, directly connecting health systems to the company. "Our data show that Cologuard market share is about 50 percent higher in the largest 400 health systems versus independent practices in smaller systems," Conroy said. "The ease of use, the reporting, the data they get, and then how we use that together fuels a deeper relationship."
Aside from screening revenues, Exact's Precision Oncology revenues, which include laboratory service revenue from global Oncotype Dx and therapy selection products, grew 2 percent, or 8 percent on a core basis, to $155.4 million. Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing revenues dwindled 86 percent to $3.8 million.
Investor response to the financial results ranged from pleasure to glee. Investment bank Craig-Hallum upgraded the company's rating to Buy, with an $85 share price target.
Analyst Alexander Nowak wrote in a note that after previously downgrading Exact, "what started as doubts has morphed into exuberance."
"We think the stock can keep working. Even after a $100M guidance raise, the guide is too low, and we are modeling estimates above" the consensus Wall Street expectation, he added. "Profitability is coming faster than anyone could have thought."
BTIG analyst Mark Massaro alerted investors that his firm was increasing its price target for Exact's shares from $80 to $90.
Canaccord Genuity, meanwhile, maintained an existing Buy rating and price target of $75, and William Blair stuck to its Outperform rating with a price of $71.
The company shaved its Q1 net loss to $74.2 million, or $.42 per share, from a net loss of $180.9 million, or $1.04 per share, a year ago. On average, analysts had been expecting a net loss per share of $.75.
Exact trimmed its Q1 R&D spending 7 percent to $95.4 million from $102.2 million a year ago, while its SG&A expenditures rose 1 percent to $404.3 million from $402.0 million.
The company finished the quarter with $421.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and $277.3 million in marketable securities.
As part of its increased full-year revenue guidance, Exact said that it now expects screening revenue of $1.77 billion to $1.80 billion compared to a prior range of $1.66 billion to $1.69 billion. It also said it expects precision oncology revenue of $605 million to $620 million compared to a previous range of $600 million to $620 million.
In early morning trade on the Nasdaq Exact's shares were up about 9 percent at $77.46.