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Biotech Stock Mailbag: GenVec

I hope everyone read my positive write-up yesterday of Exact Sciences (EXAS) and its revamped stool-based gene test for colon cancer. Amazing, I know, but I am capable of being bullish on a healthcare stock. I sincerely think Exact is a compelling turnaround story.

Of course, even my positive columns get pushback. Rick A. doesn't think Exact's efforts to improve its stool-based test will matter much because patients still don't want to deal with their stool.

"I'm sorry, but compliance is the thing with colon cancer screening. Exact could have the best science in the world but if patients won't bring in their stool test kits (and they won't) nothing is gained. With a blood test, docs actually get near perfect compliance... as in 'I'm going to draw a little blood from you.' The patient goes 'OK.' It'll be just one more test on the panel. "

Enzo Biochem (ENZ) recently signed a deal with GeneNews of Canada to bring their blood-based colon cancer screening test to the U.S. the second half of this year...For me, getting patients to cooperate is 90% of taking care of them. It's amazing how they'll sit still while I stick them, but they won't play with their poop even if it will potentially save their life."

I agree that a blood-based molecular screen would be vastly preferred over one in which patients have to "play with their poop," even if just a little. I'm not familiar with the Enzo-GeneNews test, but I was under the impression that blood-based tests, to date, have not demonstrated sufficient accuracy in detecting important pre-cancerous lesions in the colon. That's something that Exact's stool-based test can do.

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