This letter is excerpted from our 2015 annual report.
Dear Fellow Shareholders,
The dedicated team at Exact Sciences is energized by our commitment to the company’s mission: helping to eradicate colon cancer. During 2015, we made great strides toward fulfilling that important mission.
We continue to raise awareness of Cologuard®, the non-invasive, stool DNA-based colon cancer screening test that we developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic. Since its launch in the fall of 2014, more than 32,000 physicians have ordered Cologuard. We completed Cologuard tests for 104,000 patients during 2015.
Our team’s commitment to excellence is reflected in the outstanding ratings physicians and patients give Cologuard. Ninety-eight percent of the physicians we surveyed said their experience with Cologuard met or exceeded their expectations. Eighty-eight percent of patients rated their Cologuard experience “very positive.”
The growing number of ordering physicians and of patients who completed Cologuard, and the outstanding ratings given by both, are a strong base from which Exact Sciences can continue growing in 2016 and beyond.
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a physician who shares our passion for eradicating colon cancer. A trained internist, Dr. Anas Daghestani is a primary care physician at Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) in Austin, Texas, where he serves as medical director of ARC Population Health & Clinical Quality. During his visit to the Exact Sciences Laboratories, our state-of-the-art testing facility and customer care center in Madison, Dr. Daghestani reported a number of important observations about Cologuard based on his experience.
As we started our lab tour where the Cologuard collection kits arrive, Dr. Daghestani told me why he thought Cologuard’s characteristics are supporting its growing adoption.
“Cologuard is non-invasive and consumer-friendly,” he said. “It is meant to engage the patient in the comfort of his or her home.” Dr. Daghestani’s patients have said that they like Cologuard’s ability to catch cancer early and that it doesn’t require any unpleasant preparation.
As we continued through the lab, Dr. Daghestani told me that the support we provide through the customer care center is important to him. Exact Sciences has a national network dedicated to driving colon cancer screening, led by the team in our customer care center.
“Your customer care center does the heavy lifting of following up with patients about the test,” Dr. Daghestani said. “Follow-up is hard for small practices, in particular, because they don’t have the resources to close the loop with patients for whom they’ve ordered Cologuard.”
Our customer care representatives engage with patients after a Cologuard test is ordered for them, encouraging them to return their collection kit for screening. Our team members handled roughly 500,000 inbound and outbound calls in 2015. As a result, they help to drive patient compliance of nearly 70 percent.
Dr. Daghestani also told me that Cologuard has demonstrated a positive impact on the screening rate in his practice. He said the number of those who get screened for colon cancer goes up by roughly 10 percent when Cologuard is offered as a screening option.
“Cologuard is capturing unscreened patients,” Dr. Daghestani said. This is confirmed by a 2015 survey of approximately 3,000 Cologuard patients. Forty-two percent of those Cologuard users had never been screened for colon cancer. Both Dr. Daghestani’s experience and our patient survey illustrate how Cologuard is expanding the screening population for colon cancer, which is highly curable when caught early.
“I am impressed with the lab, the technology that’s used in the testing process, and the dedication of the outstanding people here,” Dr. Daghestani told me as we came to the end of the tour. The qualityof Exact Sciences’ people sets our company apart as we work with physicians like Dr. Daghestani all over the country.
The lab will always be a cornerstone of ExactSciences’ success. Our sales team, which calls on primary care physicians, is another.
Nearly 75 percent of physicians who order Cologuard once for a patient order it again for others. Our sales team is focused on continuing to generate these repeat Cologuard orders, while we continue to secure orders from new physicians.
Our marketing team continues to provide strong support to our sales efforts through targeted digital and print advertising campaigns. These efforts are being reinforced with a national television advertising campaign. The television commercial, which performed well in a five-market test in early 2016, began airing nationwide in the spring of 2016.
We also expect that continued progress securing coverage of Cologuard as an in-network service by commercial insurers will support Exact Sciences’ growth. Fifty-seven percent of the 80 million lives in our target population are covered for Cologuard, as of the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Cologuard is changing colon cancer screening. We know this based on the feedback we receive from physicians like Dr. Daghestani and quantifiable measures. These changes couldn’t be accomplished without the profound commitment to our mission and the excellence required to achieve it that’s demonstrated every day by the Exact Sciences team.
Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at average risk for colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not for everyone and is not a replacement for diagnostic colonoscopy or surveillance colonoscopy in high-risk individuals. False positives and false negatives do occur. Any positive test result should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established. For more information about Cologuard, visit www.CologuardTest.com. Rx Only.
This blog post contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended that are intended to be covered by the "safe harbor" created by those sections. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terms such as "believe," "expect," "may," "will," "should," "could," "seek," "intend," "plan," "estimate," "anticipate" or other comparable terms. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this news release regarding our strategies, prospects, financial condition, operations, costs, plans and objectives are forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding expected future operating results, anticipated results of our sales and marketing efforts, expectations concerning payor reimbursement and the anticipated results of our product development efforts. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on our current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of our business, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Our actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following: our ability to successfully and profitably market our products and services; the acceptance of our products and services by patients and health care providers; the willingness of health insurance companies and other payors to reimburse us for our performance of the Cologuard test; the amount and nature of competition from other cancer screening products and services; the effects of any healthcare reforms, including without limitation the Affordable Care Act, or changes in healthcare pricing, coverage and reimbursement; recommendations, guidelines and/or quality-of-care metrics issued by various organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society and the National Committee for Quality Assurance regarding cancer screening or our products and services; our ability to successfully develop new products and services; our success establishing and maintaining collaborative and licensing arrangements; our ability to maintain regulatory approvals and comply with applicable regulations; the impact of our nationwide television advertising campaign; and the other risks and uncertainties described in the Risk Factors and in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations sections of our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.