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January 20, 2010
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Hey, wait a minute! That was the reaction, somewhat delayed, by the Indiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, to a late-December change to federal health reform legislation. The Senate version of reform exempts companies with fewer than 50 employees from a requirement to provide health benefits. But in late December, Senate leaders made a change for construction firms, saying the exemption would apply only if they have five or fewer employees. The change was a favor to union groups, which said non-union construction contractors would have an advantage over unionized shops that do provide health benefits. Local NFIB leaders staged a protest/press conference last week, calling on Congress to “strip this job-killing provision from a final health care bill.”

Orbis Education, a locally based maker of nursing-education software, received $8 million in venture capital from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Lightspeed Venture Partners. Founded in 2003, Orbis offers online instruction to help universities and hospitals train new nurses. A key hurdle in the looming nursing shortage is the lack of capacity for nursing schools to accept all qualified applicants. Last year, it had $4.5 million in revenue and 33 employees. Orbis aims to boost its work force past 50 by the end of the year. Orbis had previously raised $4 million from family, friends and angel investors.
 
Watch out, Eli Lilly and Co. A Greenwood pharmaceutical firm plans to build a $28 million insulin facility there to make a cheaper version of the diabetes-fighting medicine. According to the Daily Journal of Franklin, Elona Biotechnologies expects its 50,000-square-foot facility to employ as many as 70 people. Greeenwood officials are considering $8.5 million in incentives, including some loans, to help Elona build the facility and get it approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Elona was founded in the late 1980s by former Lilly  researcher Ron Zimmerman.

West Lafayette-based IVDiagnostics LLC won a $124,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to further its cancer diagnostics research. The Small Business and Innovation Research Phase 1 grant will pay for the company to improve the design of its IVFLow medical device, which analyzes and monitors tumor cells without taking blood from a patient.

Physicians working in a surgery center connected to Community Hospital South kicked in $500,000 to help the hospital complete a massive expansion. The gift, given by 65 doctors, boosts to $1.2 million the money raised for the project by the philanthropic arm of Community Health Network. The $130 million expansion will add 40 beds. It is scheduled to open in mid-2010.

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