Investors gave a cheer to WellPoint Inc.’s $4.9 billion deal to acquire Amerigroup Corp., a Virginia-based Medicaid managed care company. Shares of the Indianapolis-based health insurer shot up more than 5 percent in pre-market trading Monday and were still up 3 percent after 1 p.m. even as the broader markets fell slightly. Investors and analysts like the fact that WellPoint is playing more aggressively in government-sponsored health plans, such as Medicaid and Medicare, which are projected to be the areas for growth the next several years. “This acquisition aligns WellPoint much better with where the market is heading in terms of customers and markets,” Credit Suisse analyst Charles Boorady said during a conference call Monday morning. The deal will bring WellPoint more than 2.6 million Medicaid members in 12 states—more than doubling the 1.9 Medicaid members the company now manages. The combined companies would be the largest provider of Medicaid managed care in the nation. Medicaid is a health insurance program for the poor funded jointly by states and the federal government. Along with the federal Medicare program for seniors, it is expected to be a key driver of growth for health insurers over the next few years.
Meadows Community Foundation will develop a 70,000-square-foot Health & Wellness Center in the Avondale Meadows Community on Indianapolis’ northeast side. The nearly $20 million facility is part of a 100-acre neighborhood revitalization within the Meadows area, financed in part by a group started by superstar investor Warren Buffet. The new center will include an 18,000-square-foot health clinic operated by Indianapolis-based HealthNet Inc. and a 32,000-square-foot outpost of the YMCA. The center will provide early-learning classrooms for children, as well as youth mentoring and family programs.
Andrew Saykin, director of the Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging, is serving as principal investigator for a new nationwide research project to understand the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers will sequence the genomes of more than 800 older adults who are currently part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, an 8-year-old project to find biological markers that indicate when Alzheimer’s is developing. The National Cell Repository for Alzheimer's Disease at the Indiana University School of Medicine will serve as the storage site for the DNA samples collected around the country for the initiative. “This is the equivalent of going from a good quality map of the United States to having the detailed blueprints for everything within our borders,” Saykin said in a statement.
Eli Lilly and Co. received an extra six months of marketing exclusivity in the United States for its antidepressant Cymbalta, its biggest-selling drug. The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said marketing exclusivity on Cymbalta will now expire in December 2013, which means cheaper generic copies of the drug will not be approved until then. The extension likely will give Lilly an extra $2 billion in sales, according to the Associated Press. The drugmaker said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had determined that Cymbalta meets requirements for a pediatric exclusivity extension even though Cymbalta is not approved for use in children. U.S. sales of Cymbalta totaled $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. That was about three-quarters of all worldwide sales of the drug.
Erbitux, a cancer treatment made by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.'s Imclone unit, failed to help patients with advanced stomach tumors in a late-stage clinical trial, according to the company that markets the drug overseas. Erbitux, when combined with two other medicines, didn’t extend the length of time that patients lived without their disease getting worse, said Germany-based Merck KGaA. Lilly and New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. market Erbitux in the United States and Canada, while Merck promotes it in all other markets. According to Bloomberg News, Lilly realized total revenue of $409 million from Erbitux in 2011.