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Company news

August 25, 2010

Roche Diagnostics agreed to pay $100 million to acquire California-based BioImagene Inc., a maker of tissue-based cancer diagnostic equipment, according to Reuters. Such diagnostic tools are becoming increasingly important to identify the small groups of patients who are the targets of new cancer drugs aimed at specific genetic profiles. Switzerland-based Roche also has a pharmaceutical business and is the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs. The company’s U.S. diagnostic business is headquartered in Indianapolis, though its tissue diagnostics is concentrated in Arizona.

Drug developer Endocyte Inc. has raised more than $100 million in private investment and grant funding, so it’s now going to test the public markets. The company, headquartered at Purdue University Park in West Lafayette, filed last week for an initial public offering. Endocyte has a pipeline of drugs in development for the treatment of various cancers and inflammatory diseases, including six drugs in clinical trials. Endocyte’s IPO is the third announced so far this year in Indiana. Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley Inc., a handbag maker, filed plans last month to raise $175 million. Evansville-based UCI International, a supplier of replacement parts for the light- and heavy-duty vehicle aftermarket, said in July it plans to raise $200 million. Nationally, the IPO market looks to be improving. So far this year 170 have been filed, topping the 119 filed in 2009 and the 153 in 2008.

Indiana is getting a $1 million federal grant to improve monitoring of health insurance premiums and develop a website to help consumers, according to the Associated Press. The grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is part of the federal health reform bill. The Indiana Department of Insurance will use the money to hire actuaries to help it review proposed premium increases. It also will develop a website on which consumers can review rate filings and post comments. Filings currently are only available in paper form upon request.

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