In partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, also known as WEDC, cancer prevention research company Exact Sciences will invest $350 million into their industry in Madison to create more than 1,300 new jobs.
The announcement of the new plan has state leaders and employees hopeful for the future, said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.
“Exact Sciences … has such an incredible vision for the future,” Hughes said. “Having a company like that in Wisconsin means all of Wisconsin is working on Exact Sciences’ mission … so it really has this ripple effect that makes the whole state feel and act innovatively.”
WEDC is a financial organization that works with over 600 partner companies in the state of Wisconsin in all different sectors, providing economic and technical assistance to help strengthen their growth and potential to succeed in the state, according to the WEDC website.
Exact Sciences will divide the money between three projects, according to a press release from the WEDC website. They will build the Research and Development Center of Excellence, create more laboratory space with updated technology and automation features, and expand the current warehouse space, according to the press release.
Exact Sciences is a medicinal diagnostics company specializing in early detection and analysis of cancer, most notably prostate, breast and colorectal cancer according to the company website. Exact Sciences Associate Director of Corporate Affairs Scott Larrivee envisions these projects creating jobs for a wide range of people, including those with less education.
“We have jobs for everything from folks with a high school degree all the way up to a PhD,” Larrivee said. “If you look at these different positions, there’s a variety of those with starting pay from $17 to $35 an hour plus a cash bonus each year.”
WEDC will increase Exact Sciences’ enterprise tax credits from $9 million to $27.5 million according to the press release. Enterprise tax credits serve as a sum of dollar credits companies can use to subtract from the total amount of tax dollars they owe to the government according to the Tax Foundation.
But it’s important for people to know Exact Sciences is being held accountable and graded by the WEDC, Hughes said.
“I think it’s important for taxpayers in Wisconsin to understand that we don’t pay any tax credits out until the company performs,” Hughes said. “So until Exact Sciences does the construction and creates those jobs, we are … standing in the wings as support, ready for that to happen.”
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This is not the first time WEDC and Exact Sciences have partnered for a similar industry-growing project. Exact Sciences previously signed a contract to invest at least $26.2 million starting in 2015 to create 758 jobs in exchange for enterprise tax credits, according to the press release and Hughes.
Judging by the success of their previous partnership with WEDC, Hughes is confident Exact Sciences will meet their job creation goal.
“They had performed over and above what they said they were going to do,” Hughes said. “They came to us and said … ‘we want to do more in Wisconsin.’”
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Their current partnership with Exact Sciences has begun to move forward, with Exact Sciences posting new job opportunities on their website, according to Larrivee.
These positions can provide employees with flexible schedules and meaningful work, according to job reviews on Indeed, though other reviews indicate employees are dissatisfied with the work environment due to micromanagement and low pay relative to the industry.
Exact Sciences flagship product is their noninvasive colorectal cancer screening test known as Cologuard, according to the press release. Cologuard helps adults above 45 screen for colon cancer by detecting DNA markers in their stool. Since being approved by the FDA in 2014, it has been used by patients over 7 million times, according to the Cologuard website.
In recent years, Exact Sciences has grown substantially and now employs 3,500 people in the Madison area, Larivee said. The investment by WEDC hopes to continue their growing impact on the community.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve tried to invest in the community and support local organizations and causes,” Larivee said. “So hopefully this just continues all of that great work to strengthen the community, but also create economic opportunity.”