Today Exact Sciences released earnings for the third quarter of 2017. Results exceeded our expectations with revenue of $72.6 million, up 26% from the second quarter, and 161,000 completed Cologuard tests, up 19% from the second quarter.
Third quarter cost of sales totaled $129 per completed test, down from $133 in the second quarter. This improvement came from better-than-expected volume leverage and continued efficiencies in our lab and manufacturing operations.
We expect an increase in our cost per test in the fourth quarter from the growth investments we’re making in our lab, manufacturing capacity, and personnel.
Based on our year-to-date results, we raised our full year revenue and test volume outlook. We now expect revenue of $254-$257 million and Cologuard volume of 568,000 – 572,000 completed tests for 2017.
More than 91,000 physicians and other healthcare providers have ordered Cologuard since its launch. About 800 healthcare providers placed their initial order each week during the third quarter. This pace has been relatively consistent since we initiated our television advertising campaign about 18 months ago, giving us confidence to invest in television advertising at a similar level next year. Approximately 55,000 primary care physicians have ordered Cologuard since its launch. As we capture an increasing share of the 200,000 primary care physicians in the United States, the rate at which we add new physicians will naturally decline over time. However, we believe there is still a long runway for growth within the base of primary care healthcare providers.
We are investing in our business to support continued growth. During the last two quarters, we expanded our sales force by about 100 people and significantly increased the size of our team focusing on large health systems. In addition, we plan to expand our Medical Affairs team to help educate physicians and key opinion leaders about Cologuard.
To complement these investments and ensure that Cologuard demand can be fulfilled, we are also investing in support functions and facilities. We plan to purchase property in Madison to expand our lab, manufacturing, warehouse and office facilities, and we are expanding the capacity of our existing lab to process a growing number of Cologuard tests.
Exact Sciences is uniquely positioned to have a major impact in the war on cancer.
We have a long-standing collaboration relationship with Mayo Clinic and have demonstrated our ability to take a product from development to successful commercialization.
Exact Sciences’ proprietary testing platform coupled with our unique multi-marker approach provides a foundation for developing highly accurate screening and diagnostic tests. Our differentiated platform combines an exclusive detection chemistry and proprietary markers, providing a highly scalable, cost-effective foundation for growth. During the past 5 years, we identified markers for many of the top 10 deadliest cancers and made numerous enhancements to our capabilities. Those achievements position us to advance a robust pipeline of products in the future.
As we continue to expand Cologuard’s market penetration, the next opportunity we see to use the power of our platform is a test that differentiates between benign lung nodules and lung cancer. The current diagnostic options are often invasive and expensive, and the opportunity for a new blood-based biomarker test is significant.
We look forward to providing updates as we work to get more people screened for colon cancer with Cologuard.