Company news

January 13, 2014

Positive results from a Phase 2 trial in patients convinced Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. to reacquire an experimental migraine medicine, which goes by the name LY2951742. Lilly aims to conduct a Phase 3 trial, the last stage of testing before it can submit the drug for market approval. The drug was licensed from Lilly in 2011 by Massachusetts-based Arteaus Therapeutics, a company formed at the same time by venture capital firms OrbiMed and Atlas Venture. Lilly did not disclose the financial terms of its deal with Arteaus. However, Lilly will record a fourth-quarter charge of $57.1 million to reflect the reacquisition costs and Lilly’s assumption of ongoing development expenses of the drug. The drug is one of nine experimental drugs Lilly has licensed to outside firms as a way to share the risk of research and development costs. Lilly calls the risk-sharing arrangement with venture capital firms its Capital Funds Portfolio. The migraine medicine is the first one Lilly has reacquired from a participating venture-backed company.

Eli Lilly and Co. needs new drugs to patch a larger-than-expected hole in its revenue. On Jan. 7, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker revised its 2014 revenue forecast. Instead of its longstanding prediction of $20 billion in revenue, Lilly now expects to bring in between $19.2 billion and $19.8 billion. Wall Street analysts expected $19.6 billion, according to 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. Revenue is falling at Lilly after its U.S. patents on antidepressant Cymbalta expired in December. Cymbalta generated $4.99 billion in 2012, but analysts expect its sales to plummet to $1.43 billion this year, according to Bloomberg. Also in March, Lilly will lose patent protection on its osteoporosis drug Evista. Analysts expect Evista sales to drop to $498.6 million this year from nearly $1 billion annually before. Lilly expects its 2014 profit to range between $2.77 and $2.85 per share. Analysts anticipated $2.78.

WellPoint Inc. plans to unwind one of the deals Angela Braly made late in her troubled tenure as CEO of the Indianapolis-based health insurer. WellPoint agreed to sell online contact lens retailer 1-800-Contacts to Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. WellPoint will also sell Glasses.com, a subsidiary of 1-800-Contacts, to Milan-based Luxottica Group SpA. WellPoint’s new CEO, Joe Swedish, said he wants to focus on its core insurance business. “As we prepare for the coming changes to the health-care system, we are focused on our core growth opportunities across both our commercial and government business segments,” Swedish said in the statement. “Proceeds from this transaction will support our continued capital deployment strategies.” WellPoint bought 1-800 Contacts from private equity firm Fenway Partners in June 2012 for about $900 million. The purchase added to investor anger against Braly. She left the company two months later.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Friday it will add 3,400 people to the Healthy Indiana Plan, a health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers. That’s the number of Hoosiers who had been among the 50,000 on the program’s waiting list who reapplied and were deemed eligible. But state officials said they expect 20,000 Hoosiers to apply for HIP by the end of this year. The program, which had been running at about 40,000 participants, will have its enrollment capped this year at 45,000. Gov. Mike Pence is negotiating with the Obama administration to use HIP to expand coverage to all Hoosiers with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit. For now, HIP participants cannot have incomes above the federal poverty limit, which is $11,490 per adult or $23,550 for a family of four.