Company news

January 24, 2014

Eli Lilly and Co. is reportedly willing to pay as much as $3.7 billion to acquire a Massachusetts-based biotech company with a troubled leukemia drug, according to the U.K. newspaper The Mail. The paper claims that Indianapolis-based Lilly is the leading suitor for Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., along with U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline plc and Ireland-based Shire PLC. All three firms made “friendly approaches” to Ariad, according to The Mail, and are willing to pay up to $20 per share. Ariad currently has 185.7 million shares outstanding, meaning such a purchase price would total $3.7 billion. The Mail is not a regular source of financial news, and its article bases its report on “whispers heard across the Pond” by “dealers.” Lilly spokesman Mark Taylor declined to comment on the rumors.

Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. said it will eliminate about 350 jobs over the next two years as a cost-saving move after the maker of hospital equipment saw profit grow slower than expected. Batesville-based Hill-Rom said 200 of the cuts will occur in the United States, with the balance occurring in Europe. Because the cuts will be made, in part, via a voluntary retirement program, Hill-Rom said it does not yet know how many cuts will occur in Indiana. The U.S. portion of the cuts are scheduled to be complete by the end of March. The European job cuts will play out over the next two years. The cuts, which represent about 5 percent of Hill-Rom’s 6,800 workers, will save the company $30 million per year, boosting profit by about 35 cents per share. Over the past four years, Hill-Rom has already eliminated about 1,000 jobs. “Economic uncertainty for our customers continues to impact the timing and the level of capital spending for our key product categories. The weak order rates in the last two quarters and the volatility over the past year reflect the challenges we continue to experience in our core market,” Hill-Rom CEO John Greisch told investors last week. Hill-Rom reported earnings per share of 22 cents in the three months ended Dec. 31, down 44 percent from the same quarter of 2012. Revenue fell 8 percent from the previous year, to $393 million.

The Indiana Senate passed a bill Thursday that would halt construction on nursing homes. Senate Bill 173 would also prohibit additional comprehensive care beds at existing facilities, according to the StatehouseFile.com, but continuing care retirement homes and assisted living would be exempt from the construction moratorium. “Building new facilities will add more unneeded beds at a time when utilization of skilled nursing facilities is decreasing,” said Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, who authored the bill. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board suspended the license of Dr. Frank Campbell, an Anderson physician linked to drug-related deaths of 31 people. The Herald Bulletin reported the board also fined Campbell $500 on each of the six counts of violating physician regulations filed by state authorities. Campbell can seek reinstatement in a year. Campbell was medical director of the Madison County Community Health Center until the Drug Enforcement Administration questioned him last year over allowing two physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances using prescriptions he pre-signed. Campbell said he trusted the assistants and pre-signed prescriptions for expediency. An Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigator submitted a court affidavit saying 31 of Campbell's patients died drug-related deaths since January 2009.