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Company news

December 29, 2010

It’s back to reality for Bioanalytical Systems Inc. After its stock price soared 135 percent in three trading days, the stock started falling back to earth—helped in no small part by the company’s underwhelming earnings report. The West Lafayette-based firm said revenue dipped 13 percent, to $7.4 million, in its fiscal fourth quarter compared to the same period a year ago. Its loss narrowed to $300,000 in the quarter, compared to a loss of $1.4 million in the same period last year. The company sells testing equipment and services to pharmaceutical firms, which have been retrenching the past two years. “The revenue decline in fiscal 2010 stems mainly from study delays, price declines and spending reductions by our customers as part of their overall cost-savings initiatives,” Bioanalytical officials noted in a statement. But the company’s business accelerated in the second half of its fiscal year, causing CEO Anthony Chilton to give an upbeat outlook for 2011.

Eli Lilly and Co. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve their diabetes medicine Byetta for use in combination with basal insulin, which diabetics take in between meals to control their blood sugar. The companies would like to reignite Byetta sales, which have slumped since 2008, when the FDA publicized cases of pancreatitis among patients taking the drug. Indianapolis-based Lilly and San Diego-based Amylin tried to win approval this year for a once-weekly version of Byetta, called Bydureon, but the FDA asked for more tests, delaying the drug’s approval until 2012.

BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund invested $250,000 in Indianapolis-based Aarden Pharmaceuticals. Aarden’s leading drug program focuses on tuberculosis. The company’s product is based on research by Zhong-Zin Zhang, a professor and chairman of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Zhang is an expert in protein tyrosine phosphates, a group of signaling enzymes that regulate cellular processes. His research was funded through Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Genomics Initiative. The company decided last year to establish its headquarters here, selecting Indianapolis over San Diego.

Clarian Health physicians will now provide cardiac services to patients at Columbus Regional Hospital facilities under a new affiliation. The agreement ensures Columbus Regional has full-time availability of heart surgeons, in additional to the interventional cardiology care provided by Indiana Heart Physicians-Columbus. Columbus Regional has offered 24-7 heart surgery since 2002. In 2011, Clarian will change its name to Indiana University Health.

CNO Financial Group Inc. got a financial strength upgrade from A.M. Best Co., the pre-eminent rating agency for insurance companies. New Jersey-based Best boosted its grade on Carmel-based CNO from B (fair) to B+ (good), crediting CNO with focusing more on business lines where it has a clear competitive advantage and its recent financial restructurings. CNO, which was formerly called Conseco, sells life and health policies to middle-income families.

Warsaw-based Zimmer Holdings Inc. acquired Sodem Diffusion S.A., a Switzerland-based maker of orthopedic surgical power tools. The company will be merged into Zimmer Surgical, a unit based in Dover, Ohio. Zimmer has been trying to diversify its business as sales of its hip and knee implants have stagnated in western markets.

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