The last time Exact Sciences (EXAS -2.21%) announced its quarterly results, revenue increased 64% compared with the prior-year period. It was a different story on the company's bottom line, though, with a widening net loss.

Any questions that investors had about Exact Sciences' first quarter were answered when the company announced its Q1 results after the market closed on Tuesday. Here's what you need to know from the company's quarterly update.

Cologuard test kit and packaging

Image source: Exact Sciences.

By the numbers

Exact Sciences announced Q1 revenue of $162 million, a 79% increase from the $90 million reported in the same quarter of the previous year. The company's reported revenue handily beat the average analysts' revenue estimate of $153.04 million.

How did Exact Sciences' bottom line look in the first quarter? The company reported a GAAP net loss of $83 million, or $0.66 per share, versus a loss of $39 million, or $0.33 per share, in the same period in 2018. Analysts were expecting a net loss in Q1 of $0.65.

The company ended the first quarter with cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $1.3 billion. This cash stockpile was bolstered by the issuance of new convertible notes that raised $236 million.

Behind the numbers

As always, the key factor driving Exact Sciences' results was the performance of its Cologuard colorectal cancer screening test. And the performance for Cologuard in Q1 was very good.

Exact Sciences reported a 79% increase in test volume in the first quarter, with around 334,000 people screened using Cologuard. That percentage growth matched up exactly with the company's revenue increase.

There were a couple of things worth noting, though. Average recognized revenue per test for Cologuard slipped $2 to $483. At the same time, the company's average cost per test increased by $4 to $128.

While Exact Sciences' revenue soared, its bottom line got worse. Why? The company's operating expenses jumped a whopping 80% year over year to $187 million in the first quarter. It spent more money on research and development costs, sales and marketing, and general and administrative costs. But at this stage for Exact Sciences, increasing spending isn't a major concern.

Looking ahead

Exact Sciences boosted its full-year 2019 guidance. The company now projects revenue to be between $725 million and $740 million, compared with its prior guidance of $710 million to $730 million. 

CEO Kevin Conroy said that "the strong start to 2019 gives us confidence our investments in people, facilities, and partnerships will help us achieve our goal of screening at least 40% of the eligible U.S. population with Cologuard." Exact Sciences' partnership with Pfizer and its greater focus on customer care could enable the company to make headway on this goal in the coming quarters.