Company news

California-based Beckman Coulter Inc., which employs more than 500 people in the Indianapolis area, is up for sale, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to investigate a sale. After the Journal’s report, the company’s market value neared $5 billion. Potential buyers include private-equity firms such as the Blackstone Group and Apollo Global Management, or other companies in the medical-device industry, such as Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories, Germany-based Siemens or even Roche Diagnostics Corp. a Swiss company that operates its North American headquarters out of Indianapolis. Beckman’s testing machines are used in hospitals and medical research labs. In 2007, it moved more than 200 jobs to Indianapolis as it relocated its centrifuge development and manufacturing facilities. In October, Beckman announced plans to add 95 more jobs in Indianapolis over the next three years.

What is it about White County? In the same month that White County Memorial Hospital said it’s ready to merge with Indianapolis-based Clarian Health, now White County’s Monticello Medical Center is selling its four-physician family practice to St. Elizabeth Regional Health in Lafayette. St. Elizabeth is part of the Franciscan Alliance, which operates the three St. Francis hospitals in the Indianapolis area. Monticello, the White County seat, is about 30 miles north of Lafayette. St. Elizabeth will employ the four physicians, as well as three nurse practitioners, who collectively serve the largest percentage of White County residents. Locking up family practitioners is key for hospitals right now as they try to form themselves into “accountable care organizations” that will be paid by Medicare and private insurers for managing the long-term health of patients. Medicare’s rules will require accountable care organizations to provide family, or primary, care to at least 5,000 patients.

Indiana University’s health care budget will fall $24.9 million short of projected expenses in 2011-12, according to the Herald-Times of Bloomington, as a low-deductible Anthem Blue Access health care plan has become too expensive to offer to its 18,000 employees. IU trustee Tom Reilly Jr. implied that employees need to cover some of the extra costs.

Eli Lilly and Co. suspended a Phase 3 clinical trial of a skin-cancer drug after 12 patients in the study died, according to Bloomberg News. The deaths, among the 300 patients in the study, “may be treatment-related,” said Amy Sousa, a Lilly spokeswoman. Lilly was testing tasisulam on patients whose skin cancer had spread and who didn’t benefit from earlier treatment. No new or existing patients will be given the drug while the company evaluates safety data for the trial. But Lilly will continue to study tasisulam against breast, ovarian and renal cancers and against soft-tissue sarcoma, the company said.

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