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January 14, 2013
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BioCrossroads Inc.’s newest seed fund has plowed $750,000 into two Indianapolis-area life sciences companies. Esanex Inc. received $500,000 to help it develop a therapy that inhibits the ability of cancer cells to grow and survive. The investment will be used to complete a Phase 1 study in patients with tumors and to conduct multiple Phase 2 trials. Esanex is part of the portfolio of Lilly Ventures, the venture capital firm spun out of Eli Lilly and Co. in 2009. Algaeon Inc., meanwhile, received $250,000 to develop a technology for making micro-algae-based products used in human supplements and in animal and fish-feed stocks. The company will use the investment to expand operations and produce additional products. Algaeon is located on the northwest side on West 82nd Street. BioCrossroads, the Indianapolis-based life sciences development group, launched Indiana Seed Fund II in April after raising $8.25 million to help fledgling life sciences companies grow. Its first seed fund raised $6 million that was invested in 11 companies.

WellPoint Inc.’s plan to raise rates that small employers in California pay for medical insurance was criticized as unreasonable by the state insurance commissioner, who said customers are being charged this year to cover U.S. health-law taxes that won’t begin until 2014. According to Bloomberg News, WellPoint’s Anthem Blue Cross unit in California is raising those rates an average of 10.6 percent. Indianapolis-based WellPoint sells small group policies that cover 284,000 California employees. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones accused WellPoint of overstating future medical use and cost trends, and improperly including next year’s taxes. The commissioner provided his findings last month to the insurer, which plans to proceed with the rate increase. Anthem Blue Cross said rates will go up an average of 6.5 percent and the increase is lower than not-for-profit competitors. Around the country, Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Centene Corp. and other health insurers have proposed large increases on small businesses and individual buyers in recent months, citing rising costs for medical care and greater requirements of the health-care law. The Obama administration has said provisions in the law have kept increases from being even higher.

Johnson & Johnson won the backing of an FDA advisory panel for a diabetes pill the company is seeking to make the first in a new family of drugs for managing blood sugar, putting it ahead of Eli Lilly and Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and AstraZeneca plc, which all are trying to develop similar drugs. According to Bloomberg News, New Jersey-based J&J received a 10-5 vote from the panel to support its drug canagliflozin, although the panel also said the drug raises concerns about heart risks. The once-a-day pill is part of a treatment group known as SGLT2 inhibitors that are intended to have fewer side effects, such as low blood sugar and weight gain, than current diabetes drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to decide on canagliflozin by the end of March; the agency usually follows recommendations of its advisory panels, but it does not have to. Lilly’s drug, which it is developing with Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim Gmbh, is called empagliflozin. The two companies plan to file for FDA approval later this year.

Catheter Research Inc. has acquired assets from Illinois-based Marshall Medical Systems & Equipment Inc., one of the distributors of medical equipment for a subsidiary of Catheter Research called Thomas Medical Systems. Thomas Medical makes medical devices for reproductive and OB/GYN care. Catheter Research did not disclose the purchase price.


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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...