Company news

December 3, 2012

Catamaran Corp. will add 50 jobs in Indianapolis over the next year to help it provide pharmacy-benefit-management services to the Indiana Medicaid program. The Illinois-based company will open an office downtown Tuesday to kick off its six-year, $60 million contract with the state. The contract, which officially begins April 1, pledges Catamaran to help Indiana Medicaid control the $800 million it spends every year to provide prescription drugs to Medicaid recipients. Catamaran will process Indiana Medicaid’s 12.5 million annual pharmacy claims, run clinical and technical call centers, handle electronic prescriptions and manage specialty medications. The Indianapolis office, located at 150 W. Market St., will house pharmacists, technicians and support staff. 

Two investors in Indianapolis are trying to raise money to fill the gap in early-stage funding for life sciences companies in the Midwest. San Francisco-based CMEA Capital is trying to raise $100 million for early-stage life sciences investments, according to multiple people briefed by CMEA’s Midwest partner in the fund, Kent Hawryluk. Hawryluk, a co-founder of Carmel-based drug development firm Marcadia Biotech, will oversee Midwest investments of the fund from Indianapolis, with a focus on biotech and pharmaceutical companies, according to people familiar with his plans. In addition, Oscar Moralez, managing director of the StepStone Angels network, plans to start pitching a new fund to investors early next year. His plans are to raise $10 million to $20 million to invest in technology companies, including life sciences firms, in Indiana and surrounding states. “We feel the timing is right,” said Moralez. He described the fund he wants to raise as, in part, a "sidecar" to help the seven companies now supported by StepStone Angels—six of which are life sciences companies—to continue to get the cash they need to grow.
Due to the closing of Franciscan St. Francis Health’s Beech Grove hospital, Select Specialty Hospital-Beech Grove relocated from Beech Grove to a new freestanding location at 8060 Knue Road in the Castleton neighborhood. In its new location, Select Specialty Hospital has 45 beds, on-site CT machines, lab services, a rehabilitation area and a cafeteria. The hospital will now be called  Select Specialty Hospital – Indianapolis.

A North Carolina-based maker of cancer-fighting ultrasound machines plans to create 27 jobs at its Indianapolis facility over the next three years. US HIFU LLC will add positions paying an average of $36 an hour at its offices at 4000 Pendleton Way, on the northeast side of the city along Interstate 465 near Pendleton Pike. The company already employs 15 people at that location. The new jobs are for engineers, researchers and support personnel to help US HIFU make its Sonablate 500 system, which uses "high-intensity and focused ultrasound" to treat cancer with fewer side effects. US HIFU, founded in 2004, has yet to receive regulatory approval for its technology, but the company is studying it in a U.S. clinical trial for treating prostate cancer and around the world as a potential treatment for other cancers. The new jobs were announced Monday morning by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., which promised the company up to $350,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants. Also, the company has applied to Marion County for property tax abatement.

Novia CareClinics LLC opened the first multi-employer clinic for downtown employers Monday at its headquarters at 429 N. Pennsylvania St. Novia, which operates 50 clinics statewide, made its latest clinic open to other employers. Harrison College, the law firm Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP and McFarling Foods Inc. have joined so far. The 1,200-square-foot health and wellness center, first made public in July, will be staffed with a physician and nurses, offering primary care services 40 hours per week. The four companies using it have more than 500 employees combined at locations in or near downtown. Novia has said it needs to sign up 1,000 employees to make the cost per employee reasonable. If employer demand proves high, Novia could expand its downtown clinic to as large as 2,000 square feet, add a second physician or nurse practitioner, and serve as many as 2,000 employees.

European Union regulators have agreed to review the drug vintafolide, discovered by West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc., bringing it one step closer to reaching the market. Endocyte and its development partner, New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc., said the European Medicines Agency will review vintafolide, formerly known as EC145, as a treatment for ovarian cancer that is resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. The agency also will review their application for an imaging agent that can help identify patients most likely to benefit from the drug. According to the Associated Press, vintafolide and the diagnostic agent both have orphan drug status, which means competing products will be barred from the market for up to 10 years if they are approved. Merck will pay Endocyte $5 million because the application was accepted.

The government dropped its antitrust concerns about health insurer WellPoint Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Amerigroup Corp. last week, clearing WellPoint to proceed with the $4.9 billion deal. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Department of Justice officials had objected to the proposed merger because WellPoint and Amerigroup are the only providers of Medicaid managed care plans in northern Virginia. To address that concern, Amerigroup agreed to sell its Virginia business, Amerigroup Virginia Inc., to Inova Health System Foundation. It did not disclose financial terms of that deal, which was announced in September and is conditioned on the closing of the WellPoint-Amerigroup merger. The sale to Inova ensures that Medicaid users will have at least two options for managed care, the Justice Department said.