William Blair Maintains Outperform On Exact Sciences Following UnitedHealth Noncoverage Decision


William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein maintained an Outperform rating on Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS), following yesterday’s news that UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) issued an updated medical policy on fecal DNA testing stating that fecal DNA testing for colorectal cancer screening and/or monitoring was unproven and not medically necessary. No price target was provided.

Weinstein noted, “Previously, we had speculated that UnitedHealth could be the first payer to cover the test if the company received FDA approval for the testing. However, UnitedHealth joined Aetna, Inc. and various Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees in issuing noncoverage decisions over the last couple of months. We expect similar proclamations from other carriers as they update their policies in the next several months.”

The analyst added, “We believe this (or any of the updated coverage decisions) does not represent a final decision but just a step in the back-and-forth negotiation process that will take place between Exact Sciences and all commercial payers over the next 12-18 months. We expect the company will continue to work through that process ahead of a report from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), which is expected to provide an update to its colorectal screening guidelines by the end of 2015.”

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Brian Weinstein has a total average return of 21.6% and a 75.0% success rate. Weinstein has a 17.4% average return when recommending EXAS, and is ranked #642 out of 3391 analysts.

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