When Exact Sciences moved to Madison from Boston in 2009, the company had 20 employees and the intention of developing a colon cancer screening test.

Now, millions of people are screened each year using Exact Sciences’ Cologuard, the company employs more than 5,000 people, and multiple tests are in development for various types and aspects of cancer.

In the last three years, Exact Sciences has broadened its diagnostic abilities by acquiring several companies and purchasing the exclusive use of a testing technology that can detect cancer. The acquired products, both in commercial use and in development, range from screening for cancer, determining the best course of treatment for a cancer patient, and testing blood for recurring cancer.

“We have a strategy to be able to have a suite of services that comprehensively help physicians and patients, make sure that they detect cancer as early as possible and also get the best information to make treatment decisions,” CEO Kevin Conroy said. “The acquisitions that we have done all fit within that strategy. They all support making sure that we can take care of patients.”

Exact Sciences bought blood sample storage developer Biomatrica in 2018. But analyst Brian Weinstein, with investment firm William Blair & Co., marks the $2.8 billion acquisition of Genomic Health, announced in July 2019, as the start of Exact Sciences’ testing expansion.

Genomic Health, which is based in California, developed Oncotype DX, a test that helps doctors determine whether or not chemotherapy would be useful in treating a breast cancer patient based on the cancer’s genetic information. That acquisition expanded Exact Sciences from screening for cancer to helping treat it.

But that was just the first in a series of acquisitions. Since then, Exact Sciences acquired four more companies — Viomics, Paradigm, Base Genomics and Thrive — and licensed one technology — targeted digital sequencing, or TARDIS — to bring the company into the fields of determining if treatment was successful and detecting recurring cancer.

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