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Company news

November 7, 2011

Witham Health Services is constructing a clinic in Lebanon to house a satellite branch of the Indiana University Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute. The 4,000-square-foot facility, to open in January, will offer a range of vision care, including eye exams, fittings for new glasses and contacts, as well as cataract surgeries. The clinic primarily will be staffed by Dr. Daniel Spitzberg and Dr. Melanie Pickett, both professors at the IU School of Medicine’s department of ophthalmology. They initially will see patients several days a week, but hope to gradually increase to offer daily service. “We believe that receiving treatment close to home has a significant impact on the overall health of a patient—and this will help bolster that,” said Ray Ingham, CEO of Witham Health Services.

The British Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland-based Human Genome Sciences Inc. in its dispute with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. over the validity of a patent for a gene sequence that could be used to treat people with autoimmune diseases. Lilly has made autoimmune diseases one of its key areas of research. Lilly had persuaded a U.K. judge in a previous hearing to revoke the patent on the basis that Human Genome’s list of potential uses for the gene was too vague. The court decision affects patent rights in the United Kingdom, but necessarily throughout Europe. Lilly maintains the patent is invalid and is “exploring available avenues to make its case,” the company told Bloomberg News in a Nov. 2 e-mailed statement. “Human Genome Sciences seek to foreclose a whole area of research in a way that is not only harmful to the industry, but would ultimately and unjustifiably hinder the future development of new medicines,” it said.

The Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine will get $9.1 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health. The funds mark the fifth consecutive five-year grant the Alzheimer Disease Center has received from NIH to support research to understand the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It is the center's largest grant to date. The IU center is one of 29 similar centers around the country funded by the NIH. Alzheimer’s and other dementias afflicted 36 million people worldwide in 2010. That number could triple in the next four decades as the size of the world’s elderly population surges, according to a report from Alzheimer’s Disease International. Scientists are unsure what causes Alzheimer’s and there is no effective treatment.

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