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License Fees Help Exact Sciences Cut Q4 Net Loss

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Exact Sciences today reported that it had cut its fourth-quarter net loss 14 percent, as it took in licensing fees that were more than three times greater than those received in Q4 2008.

The Madison, Wis.-based molecular diagnostics developer said that it brought in $1.2 million in licensing fees for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared to $338,000 for the fourth quarter of 2008. The company reported no product revenues for either period.

Exact Sciences' net loss for the quarter dropped to $1.8 million, or $.05 per share, from $2.1 million, or $.08 per share, year over year.

Its R&D expenses increased to $1.3 million from only $70,000 for Q4 2008, while its SG&A spending dropped 5 percent to $1.8 million from $1.9 million. The Q4 2008 results also included a $70,000 restructuring charge.

For full-year 2009, Exact Sciences' revenues were $4.8 million, more than three times its 2008 revenues of $1.4 million. In 2008, the firm also paid out $2.2 million in product royalty fees, compared to only $25,000 for such fees in 2009.

Exact Sciences' net loss for the year was $9.1 million, $.28 per share, down from $9.7 million, or $.36 per share, for FY 2008.

The firm's R&D spending more than doubled to $4.2 million from $2 million, and its SG&A spending increased to $9.7 million from $6.5 million.

Exact Sciences held $21.9 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and $2.4 million in short-term investments as of the end of the year.

"After joining the company last April, the company's new management outlined three key priorities for 2009: product development, clinical trial planning, and creating a performance culture," Exact Sciences President and CEO Kevin Conroy said in a statement.

"We simplified our sDNA test and strengthened its detection capability by licensing Hologic's qInvader chemistry," he added. "We made significant strides in our clinical trial planning, engaging the FDA and others in our trial design, and initiating the recruitment of top-tier investigators."

Conroy joined the firm last year after serving as president and CEO of Third Wave Technologies, which developed the Invader chemistry and was acquired by Hologic for $580 million in July 2008.

Exact Sciences' primary product, which is in development, is a stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer screening.

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