Company news

May 19, 2010

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sold off its entire stake of WellPoint Inc. stock in the first quarter, the firm reported Monday. Buffett’s firm owned more than 1.3 million shares of WellPoint—an Indianapolis-based health insurer that has more than 432 million shares outstanding. His firm also disposed of its stake of nearly 1.2 million shares in Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group, another large health insurer. Berkshire Hathaway first invested in WellPoint in the first quarter of 2007, spending nearly $80 million to acquire nearly 1 million shares. In the three years since, WellPoint shares have lost 36 percent of their value. The company’s shares closed Monday at $53.52 apiece.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kethleen Sebelius came to Indianapolis Friday to award the Indiana University School of Medicine an $8.5 million federal grant to renovate a former research floor at Riley Hospital for Children. The renovations, which are set to be completed in 2012, will enable the hospital to conduct pediatric clinical research trials by adding 18,500 square feet of bio-storage and laboratory space. “Most drugs and diagnostics are tested in adults—but children aren’t just little adults,” said Dr. Craig Brater, dean of the IU School of Medicine. The federal grant is one of 146 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act construction awards, totaling $1 billion, given to build, repair and renovate scientific research labs and related facilities nationwide.

Bioanalytical Systems Inc. narrowed its losses in its second quarter even though it suffered a 2-percent drop in revenue. The West Lafayette-based contract research firm reported a $1.2 million loss in the period ended March 31, compared with a $1.8 million loss reported for the same period last year. Revenue was down $200,000, to $6.9 million. Nearly half of the loss came from $520,000 in expenses from staff reductions. Bioanalytical recently named Anthony S. Chilton as president and CEO following the retirement of top executive Richard M. Shepperd earlier this year. Chilton, 53, had been Bioanalytical’s chief operating officer since 2008.

Construction could begin as early as June 1 on a $225 million hospital in northern Indiana after the Porter County Plan Commission approved the building plans, the Associated Press reported. Community Health Systems plans to build the five-story, 250-bed hospital at U.S. 6 and State Road 49. Porter hospital officials in Valparaiso say the last step to be completed is an archaeological and bat survey.