Pfizer sales representatives to co-promote Exact Sciences’ Cologuard test in multimillion-dollar deal

Pfizer signed a three-year agreement to co-promote Exact Sciences’ Cologuard stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer, committing to spend a total of about $70 million on marketing expenses through December 2021.

Meanwhile, Exact Sciences will spend a baseline of $80 million per year on marketing and promoting the at-home screening test, including on sponsorships and related activities—plus a dollar-for-dollar amount matching Pfizer’s planned expenses, according to the agreement outlined in an SEC filing (PDF). The Madison, Wisconsin-based company's stock jumped up 20% in premarket trading on the news.

Exact Sciences’ staff will train the Big Pharma’s sales representatives in the use of the product for colorectal cancer, who will then lend their expertise and reach by contacting their network of physicians and health systems, as well as help develop Cologuard’s marketing campaigns.

"There is a significant patient need to increase colorectal cancer screening, and our field force has long established relationships with providers who prescribe first-line preventative treatments to patients," said Nick Lagunowich, regional president of North America for Pfizer Internal Medicine.

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While colorectal cancer outcomes can be improved through early detection, fewer than two-thirds of people are up-to-date with the recommended screening guidelines, Exact Sciences said.

The collaboration is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. Exact Sciences will maintain responsibility for manufacturing and lab operations, while paying Pfizer a promotion fee based on laboratory service revenue. Meanwhile, Pfizer will share its gross profits equally.