Company news

April 6, 2011

In the not-too-distant future, scientists tell us, we will regard the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy agents as akin to the bleeding therapy administered by 19th century country doctors. And a Purdue University chemist has developed a tool to help make the future of laser-guided cancer therapies a reality. W. Andy Tao has developed a nanopolymer that can be coated with drugs, enter cells and then be removed to determine which proteins in the cells the drug has entered. Knowing which proteins are targeted would allow drug developers to test whether new drugs target only desired proteins or others as well. Eliminating unintended protein targets could reduce the often-serious side effects associated with cancer drugs. Tao said there currently is no reliable way to test drugs for “off-targeting.”

Indianapolis-based Medical Animatics, a 3D animation company, is making a foray into the game business. The company will develop a game for kids ages 6-12 to help them learn safe behaviors at home, in their neighborhoods, at school or at a park. Medical Animatics will develop the game for Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Health games designed to be both educational and enjoyable are being developed by two other companies with Indiana ties—Bloomington-based Wisdom Tools LLC and Indianapolis-based Gabriel Entertainment, as well as by growing numbers of developers around the country. Medical Animatics also develops 3D animated instructional and informational materials for the health care, higher education and sports industries.

Northern Indiana's Manchester College plans to begin work this summer on its new $18 million pharmacy school. School spokeswoman Jeri Kornegay said Thursday that a ground-breaking for the 75,000-square-foot building in Fort Wayne is expected early this summer, possibly in June. Until the building is complete in July 2012, the college's School of Pharmacy will continue to occupy space at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, about 30 miles east of North Manchester. The project is supported by a $35 million grant from Lilly Endowment that's the largest gift in the college's history. While pharmacy schools have opened on a rapid pace around the nation in recent years, Indiana is one of 18 states with a shortage of pharmacists. Manchester’s will be the third in Indiana offering doctorates in pharmacy, joining schools at Butler University in Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette.

Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance plans to spend $8.4 million to open an administrative center in Greenwood, creating nearly 85 jobs in the next four years. The Catholic health care system, formerly known as Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, will buy, remodel and equip the 96,505-square-foot freestanding building at 1040 Sierra Drive. The administrative center—dubbed the Franciscan Ambulatory Business Office—will house all physician billing operations for the organization’s 13 hospitals in Indiana and Illinois. Franciscan Alliance employs 18,200, including 556 physicians, and expects to grow its physician team to more than 630 next year. Hiring at the administrative center should begin in April as renovations are made. Franciscan Alliance is the second hospital system to announce plans recently to consolidate operations in central Indiana. In October, St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the parent organization of St. Vincent Health, decided to locate a $10.9 million professional service center in Indianapolis, creating up to 500 jobs by 2013.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the best hospitals in the Indianapolis area based on the ones that have medical specialty groups of either national prominence or high performance on such metrics as survival, safety, staffing, technology and patient volumes. Topping the list was the downtown medical complex of Clarian Health, now called Indiana University Health. The academic medical center—which includes Methodist, IU and Riley hospitals—ranked nationally in 11 areas, including gastroenterology, urology, geriatrics, orthopedics, neurosurgery and cancer. It also scored as high-performing in gynecology. Coming in second in the ranking was St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, which scored as high-performing in 12 specialties. Other hospitals in the local top five were IU Health North Hospital, St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and, in a tie for fifth place, St. Vincent Heart Center and Wishard Health Services.