Company news

April 2, 2012

Indianapolis-based Strand Diagnostics LLC will receive up to $30 million in investment capital over the next three years from Los Angeles-based NantWorks LLC, a seed-stage investment firm, the companies announced last week. Strand Diagnostics makes the Know Error system, which uses bar coding and DNA matching to make sure biopsy samples are matched to the correct patients when submitted to its labs for testing. The investment capital will help it scale up its operations and sales efforts, the company said in a news release. NantWorks is the same company that announced in January it would sink $85.5 million into a former Pfizer Inc. plant in Terre Haute to produce injectable drugs for use in cancer patients and in critical care situations. NantWorks predicted the plant would employ 234 people by 2016. Strand Diagnostics, which operates a testing lab south of Indianapolis International Airport, launched Know Error in 2009. The company has 58 employees, with 48 of them in Indiana.

The Federal Trade Commission gave the OK to the marriage of Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., two pharmacy benefit managers that combined employ 800 people in the Indianapolis area. The $29 billion deal, according to Bloomberg News, would create the nation’s biggest manager of prescription-drug benefits for corporate and government clients. But it is unclear how the merger will affect staffing at St. Louis-based Express Scripts' facility near Indianapolis International Airport and Medco’s distribution center near Whitestown. A combined Express-Medco would handle 34 percent of prescriptions in the U.S. this year, according to Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting Inc. in Philadelphia, who is a consultant for Express Scripts. However, that share will shrink to 29 percent next year because Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. switched from Medco to its own pharmacy benefits unit, OptumRx.

Federal authorities charged a Carmel man on Friday with using his Indianapolis business to defraud the Indiana Medicaid program of more than $1 million. Donald Hamilton, 49, allegedly used his company, Hamilton Medical Inc., to generate false invoices showing that compression stockings for another of his companies, Indianapolis-based Compression Etc., cost almost three times what he paid for them. Hamilton sent invoices to the Indiana Medicaid program for reimbursement for an amount much higher than allowed by law, according to charges announced by Joseph Hogsett, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. He said the investigation was a collaborative effort among the Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigations unit and the Indiana Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud control unit.

Roche Diagnostics Corp. plans to eliminate about 80 information technology jobs at its Indianapolis-area campus over the next two years. The first round of reductions is to be completed by June 30. The IT workers are actually part of Roche Group’s global pharmaceutical informatics unit, but live in the Indianapolis area, said Roche spokeswoman Julie Bower. Roche employs about 3,000 people at its Indianapolis and Fishers facilities. The company’s worldwide headquarters are in Basel, Switzerland.

Warsaw-based orthopedic implant maker Biomet Inc. agreed to pay $22.7 million to settle allegations that it bribed government-employed doctors in Argentina, Brazil and China for more than eight years to win business with hospitals. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlements March 26. Biomet will pay a $17.3 million criminal penalty but won't be prosecuted by the Justice Department if it institutes strict internal controls to prevent bribery and hires an expert to monitor its compliance for 18 months. Biomet, which operates in about 90 countries, also agreed to pay $5.4 million in restitution to resolve the SEC's civil charges. Biomet is the third medical device company—in addition to New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson and U.K.-based Smith & Nephew plc—to pay a criminal penalty and sign a deferred-prosecution agreement in the government's investigation into bribery by medical device makers of doctors employed by governments overseas.