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Why Exact Sciences Shares Jumped 12% Today

By Todd Campbell - Mar 7, 2016 at 4:36PM

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An insider ups her stake in this diagnostic testing upstart.

Image source: Exact Sciences. 

What: After a post-EPS drop last month and a SEC filing late last week showing that one of its directors acquired additional shares, Exact Sciences' (EXAS 4.42%) share price climbed 12.8% today.

So what: Despite reporting rising demand for its Cologuard colon cancer test, the company took it on the chin last month.

Exact Sciences generated $14.4 million in Cologuard sales on 38,000 completed tests in the fourth quarter, but stiff headwinds from operating expenses resulted in a $40 million loss during the quarter.

With operating expenses exiting the year at a $189 million annualized clip and the company forecasting between $90 million and $100 million in sales this year, investors knocked shares down 22% in February.

Apparently, that sell-off created an opportunity that was too hard for insider Katherine Napier to ignore. Napier, an independent member of Exact Sciences' board of directors, bought 3,775 shares in the company on March 3 at an average price of $5.38, according to a SEC filing on March 4.

Now what: Exact Sciences management expects to complete 240,000 Cologuard tests this year, up 130% year over year. That's substantial growth, but investors are right to be nervous about the company's spending pace.

Napier's buy boosts her position in the company to 91,000 shares, and Napier, the current CEO of Arbonne International and former senior vice president of McDonald's, is obviously confident that the company possesses the marketing know-how to win over prescribers and patients. However, the company's spending isn't likely to abate for a while, and that means losses will continue to mount for the foreseeable future. For that reason, other options may be better bets for investors. 

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