Company News

November 11, 2013

Shares of Endocyte Inc. came roaring back after the company’s executives finally convinced investors there’s a real possibility of getting European approval in the next two months for its first drug. Shares of West Lafayette-based Endocyte soared by nearly 41 percent from its close on Tuesday, just before the company issued its pipeline update, until the end of the week, when the shares closed at $11.64 apiece. Endocyte executives said they expect European regulators to render a decision on its ovarian cancer drug, vintafolide, in December or January. The European regulators have requested an oral presentation by Endocyte, which is usually a sign of some controvery, Wall Street analysts noted. If Endocyte gets the green light, it would start working with its partner, New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc., to sell vintalofide next year. Endocyte is also seeking approval for a companion imaging agent. Combined, analysts expect the two products could bring Endoycte as much as $200 million in revenue by 2018.

Two former Eli Lilly and Co. scientists accused of stealing the drugmaker’s trade secrets and passing them to a Chinese company have been released to a halfway house by a federal judge in Indianapolis. The judge, William Lawrence, also acknowledged that the men’s attorneys had “poked sufficient holes” in the case brought by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett against the men by suggesting that Guoqing Cao and Shuyu “Dan” Li, only passed on information that Lilly had already put into the public domain. Cao and Li, both of whom live in Carmel, were arrested in October for allegedly emailing sensitive information about nine of Lilly’s experimental drug programs to an employee of Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. Ltd., which is based in China. An executive of Indianapolis-based Lilly estimated during a court hearing that the trade secrets were worth at least $55 million.

Paragon Medical Inc., a Pierceton, Ind.,-based supplier to orthopedic implant companies, has agreed to be acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Co. Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in December, were not disclosed. The company has 950 employees, according to its website.

Testosterone replacement drugs, including one made by Eli Lilly and Co., raised the risk of heart, attack, stroke or death by 29 percent, according to a study of 8,700 men released last week. According to Bloomberg News, the study is the first of a class of drugs, which includes Lilly’s Axiron, as well as AbbVie Inc.’s Androgel. Indianapolis-based Lilly is expected to achieve $168 million in sales this year from Axiron. Androgel could achieve $1.1 billion in sales, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg. An earlier study of testosterone supplements used in elderly males, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and run at Boston Medical Center, was stopped in 2009 because an audit found it caused more heart attacks and high blood pressure. Teresa Shewman, a Lilly spokeswoman, said the company is aware of cardiovascular events in men taking testosterone therapies. “Lilly works with the scientific community and regulatory bodies to further understand and communicate the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy,” Shewman said. “As a company responsible for developing medicines, Lilly is committed to providing advertising that is truthful, accurate and balanced.”