Company news

February 9, 2011

Indiana University has created the Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine, with $11.25 million in funding from its School of Medicine, its IUPUI campus, the Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative and the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. The newly created institute will conduct research and work to develop tools that help health care providers select the best medicines for patients based on their genetic traits. “Much of the future of health care is in personalized medicine, meaning more precise targeting of the right medication to the right patient at the right time,” said Dr. David Flockhart, an IU professor of cancer epidemiology and genetics who has been named director of the institute.

Eli Lilly and Co. and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation have agreed to to spend $1.4 million over three years to fund the research at University of Geneva that could help patients with type 1 diabetes to regenerate insulin-producing cells destroyed by the disease. Previous research by Geneva’s Pedro Herrera showed the possibility of converting pancreas cells that do not produce insulin into insulin-producing cells—and to do so without genetic manipulation. Researchers at Indianapolis-based Lilly will now collaborate with Herrera to find potential targets in the pancreas that when exposed to a drug would induce this cell conversion. Lilly hopes to be able to then develop drugs that could treat type 1 diabetes and, perhaps, eliminate the need for insulin therapy.

Endocyte Inc. went public on Friday, selling 12.5 million shares at $6 apiece. The price has since risen to about $7.30. The West Lafayette-based drug-development company twice cut the price of its offering last week. It had intended to sell about 5.4 million shares for a range of $13 to $15 apiece. The underwriters of Endocyte’s IPO have an option to buy an additional 1.8 million shares, which could bring Endocyte’s total sale to $86 million. Including the underwriters' options, the company could see proceeds of up to $86.3 million. The company, which has no sales to date, intends to use all the money from the sale to advance development on its experimental drugs. Its 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 is trading under the "ECYT" symbol on Nasdaq.

Indianapolis-based Medical Animatics sold some of its assets to Indianapolis-based Harrison College. The deal included three master-level designers, animation equipment and portions of Medical Animatics’ illustration libraries. Harrison, formerly known as the Indiana Business College, intends to use the assets to develop content for its online, on-ground and blended courses. Medical Animatics, which had made instructional courses for health care clients, had helped Harrison design an online medical assisting program, which launched in January. Harrison did not purchase the full agency or its name, and will not assume any of the company’s liabilities. Medical Animatics founder Harlon Wilson said the company is looking to take its work into new markets.

Bioanalytical Systems Inc. swung to a profit in its most recent quarter. The West Lafayette-based provider of pharmaceutical testing equipment and services earned $310,000, or 6 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. In the same quarter a year ago, the company lost $1.5 million, or 30 cents per share. Revenue for the most recent quarter totaled $8.1 million, a 27-percent increase from a year ago, as pharmaceutical companies renewed their research and development spending. Bioanalytical also trimmed $265,000 in expenses in the past year.

Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences boosted its fourth-quarter revenue by 19 percent to $1.3 billion, compared with the same quarter a year ago. Quarterly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization also edged up from $69 million to $72 million. Dow Agro’s overhead expenses increased 3 percent during the quarter because of new product launches and commercial activities related to recent seed acquisitions. It also spent 14 percent more on research and development. Dow Agro is a unit of Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co.