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Company news

February 2, 2011

WellPoint Inc. CEO Angela Braly has been working with her counterparts at insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc. in an informal lobbying alliance aimed at blunting parts of the health-care law, according to Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources. The unofficial alliance might try to formalize in the next two months and may even try to pull in large employers to rally around mutual health-care interests, they said. The five for-profit companies control 39 percent of the commercial, Medicare and Medicaid health-insurance market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Indianapolis-based WellPoint is the largest health insurer by enrollment, with more than 33 million members in its health plans. The arrangement began about six months ago, growing out of a desire to improve the companies’ image and out of unrest over decisions by America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, the Washington-based lobbyist that also serves hundreds of small plans and nonprofit insurers. Spokesmen at all five companies declined to comment on the sessions or didn’t return e-mail and telephone inquiries. Karen Ignani, AHIP’s CEO, declined to answer questions about the split, calling it “palace intrigue.”

Community Health Network will provide an employee health and wellness center for Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township employees and their covered dependents. The center, to be housed in remodeled space at Community Health Pavilion-Fort Ben (8501 East 56th Street), is scheduled to open in mid-April. The center will focus strongly on engaging school district staff in wellness and disease prevention. Medical personnel will include a “health coach,” who can help patients make changes in their daily health habits to improve health.  The coach can assist with anything from smoking cessation to stress reduction techniques, diet and exercise planning. The health and wellness center is an addition to the district-sponsored medical benefit plan.  Employees covered under the township plan will be able to continue using their participating provider of choice; however, if they utilize the new employee health and wellness center, they will not pay an office visit co-pay for their visits.

Executives at Endocyte Inc. are now on an investor road show, making presentations in advance of the company’s $78 million initial public offering this month. The West Lafayette drug-development firm plans to offer nearly 5.4 million shares at a price between $13 and $15 apiece, according to a filing Jan. 21 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Underwriters of its IPO will have the option to buy up to an additional 802,500 shares to cover excess demand. Endocyte's key focus is on developing treatments for cancer and inflammatory diseases. The lead product candidate, EC145, is a potential cancer treatment. The company hopes to move it into late-stage development as a potential ovarian cancer treatment. Endocyte said it will trade under the "ECYT" symbol on the Nasdaq exchange.

Noblesville-based King Systems Corp. is without its two top executives after both abruptly left the company on Jan. 26. CEO Don Dumoulin and Chief Financial Officer Yun Kim exited King Systems in a “mutual agreement” with Great Britain-based parent company Consort Medical PLC, said its CEO, Jonathan Glenn. King Systems manufactures anesthesia and respiratory-care products. With 475 local employees, it’s the third-largest medical device developer in the Indianapolis area, according to IBJ statistics. Glenn, who arrived in Noblesville last week to announce the departures, declined to provide specifics on why the two were let go. “The business is fine,” he said. “There’s nothing sinister behind this.” A search is under way for a new chief executive and CFO, said Glenn, noting that a couple of executives from Consort will be overseeing King Systems' operations until permanent replacements are named. King Systems hired Dumoulin, a former Roche Diagnostics Corp. executive, as its CEO in October 2008. Dumoulin, a vice president at Roche, was let go from that company after shipping $11.7 million worth of diabetes-testing equipment in September 2006 to alleged grifter Dina Wein Reis after she convinced him she was running a not-for-profit. Demoulin could not be reached for comment.

Event-planning powerhouse VMS Inc. plans to invest more than $1.5 million to expand its Indianapolis operation and create as many as 102 jobs over the next four years, state officials said Friday morning. The locally based company now employs more than 135 and plans to begin hiring additional workers during the first quarter. Founded in 1995 by Mandy Moore and Neal Rothermel as a meeting-planning firm, VMS found a niche in the highly regulated pharmaceutical and biotech industries and grew from there. It now helps clients manage health care meetings and also assists with strategic marketing, medical-education and patient-adherence initiatives. In 2007, it reported annual revenue of $30 million and a staff of about 70. More recent financial results were not immediately available.

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