Company news

March 10, 2014

Dow AgroSciences LLC predicts its $7 billion in annual sales will double over the next five to 10 years as it launches 13 new products by 2018. The biggest of those products is expected to be its Enlist Weed Control System, which is set to hit markets in 2015. Enlist kills weeds that have grown resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular Roundup herbicide developed by competitor Monsanto Co. The new products stem from a bevy of R&D activity at Dow Agro’s headquarters at West 96th Street and Zionsville Road. The company had nearly 3,500 patents worldwide at the end of 2013, up from 2,800 just a year earlier, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The global market for agricultural technology is valued at $100 billion and is set to explode as the human population swells from the current 7 billion to an anticipated 9 billion by 2050.

The University of Indianapolis is negotiating with developers to finance a $22 million to $30 million health sciences center adjacent to its south-side campus. UIndy would be the main tenant in the 134,000-square-foot building, which is slated to open in August 2015 on the southwest corner of Hanna and State avenues. UIndy officials declined to name the developers it is talking to, but said it would select one this spring. In addition, UIndy plans to release a request for proposals at the end of March to health agencies or hospital systems to potentially open clinical space in the center or operate a partnership with the university to study and improve health disparities in the city and state. On a parallel track, UIndy is talking to other health care providers about opening a presence in the new building. According to UIndy President Robert Manuel, the school has had talks with one provider that operates 250 clinics around the Midwest. Roughly 34,000 square feet of the building is earmarked for those partners, Manuel said.

Empagliflozin, a diabetes pill developed by Eli Lilly and Co. and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, was rejected by U.S. regulators because of unresolved manufacturing deficiencies at a German plant, Bloomberg News reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspected Boehringer’s Ingelheim am Rhein facility in 2012 and warned the company of the faults in May 2013. No new clinical studies will be needed to approve the drug. The FDA re-inspection of Boehringer’s plant is continuing, said company spokeswoman Emily Baier. It could take up to six months after the inspection for the FDA to decide whether the problems have been fixed. Empagliflozin is part of a class of drugs that includes Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana and AstraZeneca Plc’s Forxiga. The drugs help the body get rid of sugar through the kidneys. The Lilly-Boehringer drug is projected to reach sales of $295 million for Lilly in 2019, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

A moratorium on the construction of nursing homes in Indiana is now in a legislative conference committee, where lawmakers will seek a compromise between a five-year Senate version and a one-year version passed by the House. Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said the moratorium called for in Senate Bill 173—through June 30, 2015—would save money for the state, as well as nursing home facilities, according to The Statehouse File. Hospitals and facilities with fewer than 10 beds would be exempt from the moratorium. The bill would not affect assisted-living homes or the transfer of Medicaid beds. Brown said Indiana's nursing homes aren’t full and that the state is paying a part of those fixed costs. But Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, called the bill an “over-the-top solution to a market-based problem.”

Health insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. and Louisville-based Humana Inc. stand to receive $5.5 billion next year to cover losses from Obamacare in a program the law’s opponents label a bailout, according to Bloomberg News. The money, outlined in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in October, is designated to help insurers who find the cost of the law higher than expected, based on the percentage of older, sicker people who sign up compared with younger enrollees. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, insurers who record a profit of 3 percent or more on their Obamacare business would put some of the gains into a government-controlled fund. Companies whose claims cost at least 3 percent more than their premium revenue can access the money. The administration expects to collect enough from profitable insurers to cover the costs of payments to other companies in the risk corridors program, Emily Cain, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, said in an email.