Company news

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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