Company news

June 9, 2010

IUPUI took two steps closer to creating a School of Public Health as it gave Lilly Scholars awards to help two professors start up public health research projects. The awards are funded by a $1 million gift from the Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation. Jennifer Wessel, who was hired from personalized genetics company SRI International, will focus her research on developing interventions based on individuals' genetic profiles that can promote healthy lifestyles to prevent or delay coronary artery disease. Silvia M. Bigatti, who has been a professor of psychology at the Indiana University School of Medicine since 2000, will study factors related to stress and coping in cancer patients and their partners and also community-based preventive health behaviors among Latinos.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has approved a Stop Diabetes specialty license plate. Like Indiana's other special group-recognition license plates, the Stop Diabetes plate will cost $40, with $25 of that cost directly benefiting the American Diabetes Association. The funds raised will support education and research about diabetes. According to the American Diabets Association, more than 714,000 Hoosiers have diabetes and at least 1.6 million, roughly a fourth of the state's population, are at high risk for it.

Endocyte Inc.'s experimental cancer drug doubled survival times for women with difficult cases of ovarian cancer. In a clinical trial of 91 women, Endocyte’s drug EC145, when combined with another chemotherapy drug, Doxil, held off ovarian cancer for six months, compared with 3 months for patients given Doxil alone. The data are interim results from a Phase 2 clinical trial involving 150 women. Endocyte, based in West Lafayette, plans to move its drug into a large Phase 3 trial later this year.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck KGaA’s Erbitux failed to slow early-stage colon cancer, in a clinical trial that left scientists mystified. Erbitux is already approved to treat colon cancer in advanced stages, and scientists presumed it would also work in earlier stages, according to Bloomberg News. The finding is the latest of at least three studies that have narrowed the scope of Erbitux. It recorded sales last year of $1.4 billion, according to IMS Health.