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Exact Sciences Gets $1M Loan; Will Move to Wisconsin

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Exact Sciences has received a $1 million loan from the State of Wisconsin's Department of Commerce to relocate its headquarters and operations from Marlboro, Mass., to Madison, Wis.

The loan and relocation was announced this morning by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. The molecular diagnostics firm will use the funds to purchase equipment and support other relocation costs.

The Department of Commerce said in a statement that the firm will make a significant investment in the relocated operations and could create as many as 150 jobs over five years. As of the end of 2008, Exact Sciences had four full-time employees.

As part of a restructuring last year, Exact Sciences eliminated eight positions, or 67 percent of its staff, to cut costs.

A few months ago, the firm brought in Kevin Conroy to serve as president and CEO. Conroy formerly was president and CEO of Third Wave Technologies, a Madison-based molecular diagnostics maker that was acquired last year by Hologic for $582million. In addition to Conroy, Exact also hired Maneesh Arora, former CFO of Third Wave, to be CFO of Exact.

"The assistance provided by the governor was a critical part of our relocation decision," said Conroy in a statement. "We know from past experience that Wisconsin, and the Madison area, in particular, is a great place to build a biotechnology company."

Earlier this year, the cash-strapped firm sold to Genzyme certain intellectual property assets related to the fields of prenatal and reproductive health in a deal that is expected to provide the firm with a cash infusion of $24.5 million. The agreement with Genzyme ended Sequenom's hostile bid to acquire Exact Sciences for around $41 million.

The firm also announced last week that it had closed an $8.2 million private placement of 4.3 million shares of its common stock.

In mid-afternoon trade Thursday on the Nasdaq, shares of Exact Sciences were up 3 percent at $2.26.

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