Company news

May 2, 2011

West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc. is preparing “conditional marketing” applications to the European Medicines Agency for its lead cancer drug and a companion diagnostic test based on Phase 2 clinical trial data. The European agency approves some drugs even before getting the final Phase 3 trial data if the medicine would treat a life-threatening disease to patients in areas of high unmet medical need. Endocyte's drug, EC145, is designed to treat ovarian cancer that has proved resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy agents. A companion imaging diagnostic, called EC20, would help select the patients most likely to benefit from EC145. Getting a drug on the European market early could provide much-needed revenue to Endocyte, which has no revenue-generating products.

OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. is the latest employer to open an on-site wellness clinic, making it available to its 1,300 employees based in downtown Indianapolis and their adult family members. The clinic will be operated by Indianapolis-based OurHealth, which last fall opened a similar clinic at the headquarters of Indanapolis-based Interactive Intelligence. OneAmerica will make the clinic the center of its wellness program, allowing employees to regularly check their cholesterol, blood sugar and other indicators of health status. OneAmerica employees can save as much as $300 off their health insurance premiums if they “effectively manage” five key health targets: weight management, blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use and glucose level. Employees can also make no-cost sick visits to the clinic, which is staffed by two doctors, a nurse practitioner, two nurses and a health coach.

California-based Hycor Biomedical Inc. plans to move its headquarters to central Indiana, creating as many as 20 jobs in the next two years. Hycor, which makes diagnostic products for clinical laboratories, is leasing space on East 98th Street while it lines up a permanent site for its operations. Founded in 1981, Hycor entered the diagnostics market in 1984. It now provides urinalysis, allergy and autoimmune testing products for clinical laboratories, hospitals and doctors' offices worldwide. Company officials said they liked Indiana’s central location, its base of life sciences workers, and $640,000 in tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

WellPoint Inc.’s better-than-expected profit in the first quarter continued a rally among health insurers this month. Indianapolis-based WellPoint reported Wednesday that it earned $926.6 million, or $2.44 a share, in the three months ended March 31. Excluding investment gains and special items, WellPoint’s profit rose 2.2 percent, to $891 million, or $2.35 a share. On that basis, Wall Street analysts were expecting $1.87 a share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. WellPoint responded by boosting its full-year profit forecast 40 cents a share. On Tuesday, Louisville-based Humana Inc. reported quarterly earnings that soared 63 cents above analysts’ expectations. It raised its full-year profit forecast 75 cents a share and announced it would begin paying a dividend. And on April 21, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group reported first-quarter profit that was 33 cents a share higher than analysts had forecast. The main factor driving the insurers’ healthy profits are that health care spending has been lower than expected and employment has improved slightly, putting more people on the rolls of employer-sponsored health plans. Also, the profit pressure of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has not been as great as many expected.

Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences on Thursday reported record sales of $1.6 billion in its first quarter, up 17 percent from the same period last year due to higher volume and increased prices. Quarterly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization improved nearly 6 percent to $406 million in the quarter ended March 31. The company attributed double-digit volume gains to new products and good weather that allowed for early application of its herbicides. Research and development expenses increased 10 percent during the quarter.

Warsaw-based orthopedic implant maker Zimmer Holdings Inc. saw first-quarter profit rise a modest 2 percent but still beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, according to the Associated Press. The company reported profit of $209 million, or $1.08 per share. Excluding charges, the company earned $1.19 per share, well higher than average analyst forecasts of $1.13 per share. During the quarter, sales of reconstructive hip and knee products rose 3 percent to $842 million.