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Exact Sciences Corp. is acquiring Genomic Health Inc. in a mammoth $2.8bn deal combining two of the world's leading cancer diagnostics firms.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exact Sciences will pay $72 per share in a cash and stock transaction expected to close by the end of 2019. 

The deal diversifies Exact Sciences' range of products to include breast and prostate cancer and adds Genomic Health's extensive commercial sales force in oncology.  Since launching in 2014, sales of Exact Sciences’ colorectal cancer diagnosis test, Cologuard have grown rapidly. In the second quarter of 2019, revenue grew 94% year-over-year. In a statement, Exact said Cologuard had captured less than 6% of the large addressable market of people over 50 years old and is aiming to grab 40% of the market share over the long-term. The combined company will have a commercial presence in more than 90 countries.

Genomic Health's strongest asset is its Oncotype IQ tests which provide personalized treatment decisions for cancer patients. The portfolio delivered more than 19% year-over-year overall revenue growth in the second quarter of 2019. In a statement, the companies said the combined commercial organization will generate revenue of approximately $1.6bn and gross profit of approximately $1.2bn in 2020. 

"Uniting the best minds and molecular diagnostics capabilities will advance the fight against cancer. Combining industry pioneers Exact Sciences and Genomic Health is a pivotal step toward building the leading cancer diagnostics company in the world," said Kevin Conroy, CEO of Exact Sciences. "Exact Sciences is continuing to grow sales and expand adoption of Cologuard at a rapid pace, and Genomic Health's Oncotype DX is the global standard of care to inform treatment decisions for women with breast cancer. Together, with our collective resources and broader platform, we will be able to provide our existing tests to more people, while also accelerating the development and launch of future cancer diagnostic tests."

The news comes on the heels of Exact Sciences' second quarter financial results, with the company reporting revenue up 94.3% to $199m. The increase was driven by Exact adding 13,000 first-time-ordering physicians during the quarter, bringing the number of US providers adopting Cologuard to about 174,000. Following the results, Exact raised its full year revenue guidance to between $800m to $810m for 2019, up from the $725m to $740m previously estimated.

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