Company news

February 17, 2014

Fritz French and Richard DiMarchi have raised $1.7 million from venture capitalists to launch Calibrium LLC, a biotech company that will develop diabetes drugs. French and DiMarchi were leaders of Marcadia Biotech Inc., which developed diabetes drugs based on DiMarchi's research as a chemistry professor at Indiana University. They sold the company for $287 million to Switzerland-based Roche in late 2010. In November, Calibrium struck a deal with Indiana University to fund 10 researchers in DiMarchi’s chemistry lab in Bloomington. Then in December, Calibrium secured convertible debt investments from two of the venture capital firms that backed Marcadia—San Francisco-based 5AM Ventures and Seattle-based Frazier Healthcare. Calibrium has hired Kristin Sherman as its chief financial officer; she held the same position at Marcadia. French said he expects more members of the Marcadia team to join Calibrium as its work advances.

Nearly two-thirds of the state’s nursing homes are now participating in partnerships with county-owned hospitals that effectively double their profit margins. The partnerships allow both hospitals and nursing homes to draw down extra federal money, which appears to give nursing homes at least 2 percent on top of their average profit margin of 2 percent. According to data from the Indiana State Department of Health, 329 nursing homes have sold their licenses to county-owned hospitals—63 percent of all nursing homes in the state and nearly 70 percent of those that offer beds to Medicaid patients. The partnerships with county-owned hospitals trigger larger payments from the federal agency that oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Those payments average $71.54 per day for each Medicaid patient, according to analysis of Indiana data by the accounting firm Myers and Stauffer LC. It is unclear exactly how the hositals and nursing homes split that money, which totaled $313 million statewide last year. But Indiana Health Care Association officials said hospitals are paying nursing homes management fees that net out to about 2 percent of the nursing homes’ net patient revenue.

Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, the nation's largest health-care-focused law firm, ranked eighth on The Hill newspaper's 2013 top 10 list of Washington, D.C., lobbying firms based on the number of new client registrations. Last year, Indianapolis-based Hall Render registered 28 new clients. The firm created its federal legislative and regulatory advisory practice in 2012. The practice includes attorneys John Williams and John Render, as well as Andrew Coats, the son of Indiana Sen. Dan Coats.

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