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November 5, 2012
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And back again. Women’s Health Alliance, a seven-doctor OB/GYN practice, will move Nov. 19 into the medical office building next to St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and will make that facility its main location for delivering babies. Women’s Health had been near the Indiana University Health North Hospital since it opened in 2005. Before that, however, Women’s Health Alliance had been affiliated with the St. Vincent Women’s Hospital on West 86th Street. Calls to the practice, which also includes four nurse practitioners, were not returned in time for IBJ’s deadline. However, the shift is the latest move by Indianapolis-area physicians to align with different hospital systems, as each health system tries to secure the referrals necessary to keep their beds filled. St. Vincent Health and IU Health, the two largest hospital systems in Indiana, have been particularly fierce competitors in the physician chase.

West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc. suffered a 14-percent decline in its stock price on Friday after it made no change in its time line for completing a Phase 3 trial of its leading drug candidate, vintafolide, for treatment of ovarian cancer. Vintafolide, formerly known as EC145, is progressing toward market approval in the European Union. But in the United States, the Food and Drug Adminstration has required Endocyte to complete its Phase 3 trial before it will consider the drug for market approval. That trial had been delayed by short supplies of a comparison drug, called Doxil. Now that those shortages have ended, Wall Street analysts were hoping the time line for the trial might speed up. But Endocyte officials said they still expect data from the trial in the first half of 2014. Endocyte also reported that it lost $1.2 million, or 3 cents per share, during the three months ended Sept. 30. Analysts were expecting Endocyte's partnership with New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc. to push it out of the red, making 1 cent per share, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Endocyte's quarterly revenue of $12.4 million also fell below analysts' expectations of $12.9 million.

Eli Lilly and Co.’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug did what it was designed to do: It removed free-floating pieces of the protein amyloid from patients’ brains and carried them to the bloodstream. That conclusion, issued Oct. 29 by a team of outside researchers, further confirms that Lilly’s drug solanezumab has some effect on the memory-sapping disease and the mechanism believed to cause it. Two large clinical trials of solanezumab demonstrated no effect on amyloid plaques seen in PET scans nor another protein associated with Alzheimer’s, called tau. Analysts continue to expect regulators to require another large clinical trial of the drug before they approve it for the market. That delay, coupled with the small effects so far documented for solanezumab, have analysts adjusting their potential sales estimates down. Whereas estimates ranged from $4 billion to $10 billion a few months ago, one recent estimate issued by Credit Suisse analyst Catherine Arnold predicts solanezumab will reach peak sales of $2.5 billion, according to a report from Reuters. That’s still big, but not quite the single-handed savior analysts thought solanezumab could be for Lilly, which is struggling through patent expirations on numerous blockbuster drugs.

Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck announced a four-year sponsorship agreement with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. The Riley/Luck “Change the Play” initiative will include programs such as sports performance camps, educational tools for kids, and Luck speaking engagements. Luck will be paid to promote the hospital and the initiative, but financial terms were not disclosed. Luck won't be the first Colts quarterback to partner with a hospital. Peyton Manning, who departed the Colts last off-season for Denver, signed one of his first local deals as a professional football player in 1998 with St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. Manning's deal with St. Vincent grew over the years until the hospital's children's facility was named the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in 2007. Despite his move to Denver, Manning still remains active with St. Vincent. St. Vincent used its association with Manning to try to chip away at Riley's market share in children's and pediatric care.

Eli Lilly and Co. will spend $140 million to construct an 88,000-square-foot plant southwest of downtown to make cartridges for insulin pens. The Indianapolis-based drugmaker announced details of the expansion Nov. 1 at a press conference on the site of the new plant on South Harding Street. The new plant, first announced Oct. 30, will adjoin Lilly’s existing manufacturing complex, known as the Lilly Technology Center. About 100 workers will staff the plant, which will be constructed by spring 2014 and ready for operations in 2015. But only “some” of that number will be additional jobs on top of the 3,000 manufacturing workers Lilly already employs in Indianapolis, according to Lilly. Wages for the new jobs will be similar to those earned by Lilly's existing manufacturing work force, although Lilly officials declined to disclose details. Lilly officials also said they plan to apply for tax abatements from the city. Lilly needs the new plant because demand for insulin continues to rise in the United States and globally. The company already makes insulin cartridges in Italy and France, and will continue to expand those plants, too.

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