Greenwood biotech firm's assets to hit auction block

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The assets of ill-fated Elona Biotechnologies Inc. will be auctioned on Sept. 27, presenting a rare turnkey opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in jumping into the life sciences industry.

Indianapolis-based Key Auctioneers will place on the block Elona’s 50,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Greenwood, plus intellectual property including a patent for making generic insulin.

Elona went into receivership in June after Greenwood officials filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the firm. The company failed to open its Greenwood facility after receiving more than $8 million in economic development incentives from the city.

In 2010, Greenwood loaned the firm $6.4 million to help it build the production plant southeast of Interstate 65 and County Road 950 North. The city also gave Elona $1.5 million to help it win approval for its insulin from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and $500,000 for equipment. The firm said it expected to hire 70 workers.

Founded by a former Eli Lilly and Co. scientist, Elona once was seen as a rising star in the biotech world. Gov. Mike Pence even visited the company in March 2012 as part of his “jobs tour,” a key element of his gubernatorial campaign.

However, the firm struggled to find investors. In January, Elona officials notified the city of financial troubles and said it was running out of cash. That information prompted the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission to declare Elona in default on $8.4 million in economic development incentives.

Key Auctioneers is offering Elona’s key insulin patent, intellectual property and lab equipment as a $2.2 million package deal through Friday. If not sold by then, they will be auctioned with the rest of Elona’s assets on Sept. 27.


  • Misdirection
    Actually IndyMike, that's not entirely true. Within the US, manufacturing costs are high, but looking at the global projections for the insulin market, the opposite is actually true. Manufacturing of insulin may start out as such, but as the demand for insulin is exploding throughout the global market, the manufacturing cost will drop dramatically, especially outside of the US. Their mistake was poor market choice. Their idea and technology are fundamentally sound, and in actuality, as a potential buyer of their IP assets, this is like striking gold.
  • Mayor Marine
    I heard Ballard and his boys were gonna make an "investment for the city of Indianapolis taxpayers" and buy the assets for $5,000,000 instead of honoring the police and fire contract! HA, LOL!
  • What were they thinking?
    As someone who works at Lilly and knows a little something about the manufacturing of insulin, the first thing that came to mind when this venture was announced was " What is Greenwood thinking?" They apparently took this guy at his word and now it looks a a big/swindle/con. If Greenwood had done due diligence, biotech experts would have told them you can't make insulin on the cheap. If the process of making a chemical drug is a complex as building a car, the process for making insulin would be comparable to building the space shuttle. They could have pumped millions more into this venture and the result would have been the same. Now, Greenwood wants their money back and it's all gone. What were they thinking?

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