Unwavering. That’s how we think of our chief scientific advisor, Dr. David Ahlquist. With deep sorrow, we announce Dr. Ahlquist’s untimely passing yesterday at the age of 69, one year after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
In February 2009, Exact Sciences’ board of directors began searching for a new team to develop a non-invasive colorectal cancer screening test. As part of that search, the board asked Kevin Conroy and Maneesh Arora to meet with Dr. Ahlquist and his team of researchers at Mayo Clinic. During that meeting, Dr. Ahlquist detailed his vision for what became Cologuard® and a bold future where a simple blood test could be used to screen for most types of cancers. Dr. Ahlquist’s incredible vision in that meeting helped spark a revolution in cancer screening.
Exact Sciences’ very existence is largely because of Dr. Ahlquist’s passion for defeating cancer through early detection, one he pursued with brilliance and a determination to make life better for others. Despite his ALS challenges, Dave, as he preferred to be called, never stopped providing invaluable scientific leadership to our scientists and leadership team. As recently as last Friday, Dave joined our weekly scientific team’s meeting, prodding the team to think about new ways to help save lives through innovative cancer diagnostics.
Dave was a gastroenterologist and served patients at Mayo Clinic for 36 years. Along with Dr. Graham Lidgard, our chief science officer, and others, he is a co-inventor of Cologuard, a test that has screened more than 4.5 million people for colorectal cancer.
Dave was a renowned teacher, scientist, researcher, inventor, mentor, and amateur author. He was also a passionate outdoorsman, naturalist, and cross-country skier. Dave was humble and kind, and he was relentlessly optimistic about the future. Despite his professional successes, the titles that mattered most to Dave were husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
“I could live a hundred lives and not meet as amazing of a person as Dave. He pushed us to dream big dreams, with his oft-repeated calls to arms: ‘Hard is not an excuse for not trying,’ and ‘If we can, we must.’ It’s hard to imagine a world without Dave in it, and the whole team at Exact Sciences is broken-hearted. Our Exact Sciences team promised Dave that we would continue the work to defeat cancer through early detection with his same unwavering commitment to advancing our science to benefit the maximum number of people,” said Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO.
The Exact Sciences team thanks Dave for his friendship and will seek to honor him by focusing on bringing to patients a test that will change the way people all over the world get screened for cancer.
The Exact Sciences team offers deepest sympathies to his loving wife, Susan, and his children Aaron (Elizabeth), Daniel (Amanda), Brooke (Bryant Carlson), and his 7 grandchildren. May his memory be a blessing.
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Cara Connelly, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-302-5622
About Exact Sciences Corp.
A leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, Exact Sciences relentlessly pursues smarter solutions providing the clarity to take life-changing action, earlier. Building on the success of Cologuard and Oncotype DX®, Exact Sciences is investing in its product pipeline to take on some of the deadliest cancers and improve patient care. Exact Sciences unites visionary collaborators to help advance the fight against cancer. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.exactsciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences, or find Exact Sciences on Facebook.
Cologuard was approved by the FDA in August 2014, and results from Exact Sciences' prospective 90-site, point-in-time, 10,000-patient pivotal trial in adults 50 years of age or older were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2014. Cologuard is included in the American Cancer Society's (2018) colorectal cancer screening guidelines and the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2016) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2016). Cologuard is indicated to screen adults 45 years of age and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer by detecting certain DNA markers and blood in the stool. Do not use Cologuard if you have had precancer, have inflammatory bowel disease and certain hereditary syndromes, or have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not a replacement for colonoscopy in high risk patients. Cologuard performance in adults ages 45-49 is estimated based on a large clinical study of patients 50 and older. Cologuard performance in repeat testing has not been evaluated.
The Cologuard test result should be interpreted with caution. A positive test result does not confirm the presence of cancer. Patients with a positive test result should be referred for diagnostic colonoscopy. A negative test result does not confirm the absence of cancer. Patients with a negative test result should discuss with their doctor when they need to be tested again.
Medicare and most major insurers cover Cologuard. For more information about Cologuard, visit www.cologuardtest.com. Rx Only.
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Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding expected future operating results, anticipated results of our sales, marketing and patient adherence efforts, expectations concerning payer reimbursement, and the anticipated results of our product development efforts, the anticipated benefits of our pending acquisition of Thrive Earlier Detection Corporation ("Thrive"), including estimated synergies and other financial impacts, and the expected timing of completion of the transaction. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance or events. 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. Actual results, conditions and events 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: uncertainties associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including its possible effects on our operations, including supply chain, and the demand for our products and services; our ability to efficiently and flexibly manage our business amid uncertainties related to COVID-19; our ability to successfully and profitably market our products and services; the acceptance of our products and services by patients and healthcare providers; our ability to meet demand for our products and services; the success of our efforts to facilitate patient access to Cologuard via telehealth; the willingness of health insurance companies and other payers to cover our products and services and adequately reimburse us for such products and services; the amount and nature of competition for our products and services; the effects of the adoption, modification or repeal of any law, rule, order, interpretation or policy relating to the healthcare system, including without limitation as a result of any judicial, executive or legislative action; the effects of changes in pricing, coverage and reimbursement for our products and services, including without limitation as a result of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014; recommendations, guidelines and quality metrics issued by various organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 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 and assess potential market opportunities; our ability to effectively enter into and utilize strategic partnerships, such as through our Promotion Agreement with Pfizer, Inc., and acquisitions; our success establishing and maintaining collaborative, licensing and supplier arrangements; our ability and the ability of Thrive and Base Genomics Limited ("Base") to maintain regulatory approvals and comply with applicable regulations; our ability to manage an international business and our expectations regarding our international expansion and opportunities; the potential effects of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and our efforts to hedge such effects; the possibility that the anticipated benefits from our business acquisitions (including the pending acquisition of Thrive and recent acquisition of Base) cannot be realized in full or at all or may take longer to realize than expected; the possibility that costs or difficulties related to the integration of acquired businesses' (including Thrives and Base's) operations will be greater than expected and the possibility of disruptions to our business during integration efforts and strain on management time and resources; the outcome of any litigation, government investigations, enforcement actions or other legal proceedings; the ability of the Company and Thrive to receive the required regulatory approvals for the pending merger and to satisfy the conditions to the closing of the transaction on a timely basis or at all; the occurrence of events that may give rise to a right of one or both of the Company and Thrive to terminate the merger agreement; possible negative effects of the announcement or the consummation of the pending acquisition of Thrive or recent acquisition of Base on the market price of our common stock and/or on our and/or Thrive's or Base's respective businesses, financial conditions, results of operations and financial performance; significant transaction costs and/or unknown liabilities; risks associated with contracts containing consent and/or other provisions that may be triggered by the pending acquisition of Thrive or the recent acquisition of Base; risks associated with potential transaction-related litigation; the ability of Thrive, Base and the combined company to retain and hire key personnel; 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. 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