Exact Sciences. (copy)

Exact Sciences research and development lab at University Research Park in Madison.

Madison-based cancer screening company Exact Sciences laid off about 350 workers Monday, including about 250 in Wisconsin. The move comes just six months after the company laid off around 230 workers in May.

“While our business remains strong, the impact of inflation, market volatility, and prioritization of the programs that will have the greatest impact on improving cancer care have resulted in the need to allocate our workforce and resources more closely to our highest priority programs,” the company said in a statement provided by spokesperson Steph Spanos. The company said it has also “taken steps to simplify (its) organizational structure” to increase efficiency.

This week’s announcement cuts the company’s global workforce by about 5% across a variety of divisions and levels. Most of the 250 workers cut in Wisconsin worked at the company's Dane County locations. The latest layoffs leave the total number of Exact Sciences employees in the Dane County area to around 3,000. 

Those laid off will receive “comprehensive severance packages” and “outplacement services,” Spanos said. They’ve also been encouraged to apply for any of the company’s 200 current job openings. 

Revenues up, losses down, but no profit yet

Exact Sciences, best known for its Cologuard at-home screenings for colon cancer, has expanded in recent years in an effort to add new cancer screenings to its portfolio. It’s currently working to develop blood and urine tests, sometimes called “liquid biopsies.” 

Though its revenues are growing, the company has yet to turn a profit. In an earnings call last week, the company announced that it anticipates becoming profitable by the third quarter of 2023, ahead of its prior target of 2024.

In the third quarter of 2022, the company brought in $523.1 million in revenue, up 15% over the same period last year. It also reduced its net losses by 11% to $151.9 million. The net loss per share, which was $0.97 per share last year, fell 13% to $0.84 per share.

Meanwhile, the company is still expanding rapidly. In January, it announced plans to grow its business in the Madison area by adding 1,300 new employees and investing $350 million in capital investments by 2025. As part of that project, the company is currently building a new warehouse and laboratory facility at its location at Schroeder Road and the Beltline. If it meets the benchmarks announced in January, Exact Sciences will get $18.5 million in state Enterprise Zone tax credits.

Those plans remain unchanged, Spanos said. “We remain deeply committed to Madison and excited to be part of its future for years to come,” the company said in its statement. 

Prior to the two rounds of layoffs announced this year, the company’s last staff cuts were in April 2020, when it responded to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by furloughing workers, reducing some salaries and cutting expenses. The company scaled back some of those measures soon after, as the pandemic took a lighter economic toll on the company than predicted. 

That was due, in part, to the company developing its own COVID test and becoming a major processor for COVID tests in the state, which boosted the company’s stock price. But in 2021, due to a variety of factors including a waning demand for COVID tests, the company’s stock price dropped. The company also raised its minimum starting wage from $17 to $20 an hour in February.

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