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Carmel firm gets FDA approval for lice treatment

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ParaPRO LLC, a locally based specialty pharmaceutical developer, said Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its topical treatment for head lice.

The treatment, called Natroba, is expected to be on the market later in 2011, the company said.

The new therapy is based on a compound developed at Eli Lilly and Co. called Spinosad. ParaPRO acquired rights to use it for lice treatment in 2002. The company received a $2.1 million grant from Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund in 2007 to help develop the treatment.

ParaPRO is a subsidiary of Carmel-based SePRO Corp., which makes herbicides and fungicides.

Touted as environmentally-friendly, Spinosad has a green pedigree. It's based not on a synthetic compound, but on bacteria that occur naturally in the soil. Lilly discovered the bacteria in the Caribbean in the mid-1980s.

The pharmaceutical giant eventually spun out its Agricultural Products Division in a joint venture with Dow Chemical Co. The venture, which became Dow AgroSciences, now sells a line of Spinosad-based insecticides that ring up annual sales approaching $200 million a year. They're available in 70 countries and used on 150 different crops.

According to the National Science Foundation, between 6 million and 12 million U.S. children are affected by head lice annually, resulting in outbreaks that lead to 12 million to 24 million lost school days. ParaPro hopes its Spinosad lice treatment one day will prove as successful as Dow AgroSciences' insecticides.

The company said the product will be the first available that doesn't require nit combing, the often painful, manual removal of the insects and eggs.
"ParaPRO's technology provides an easy solution to a common public health nuisance," said Mitch Roob, Indiana's secretary of commerce, in a prepared statement. "In addition to the benefits of a simplified treatment for lice, ParaPRO's product paves the way for future high-wage job creation."
 

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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