Company news

March 4, 2013

Eli Lilly and Co. has sued Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit, asking a court to invalidate patents used to make treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, Bloomberg News reported. Lilly wants a court to reaffirm the patents behind its own cancer drug Erbitux. According to Lilly’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, Genentech deceived the U.S. Patent Office into issuing patents known as “Cabilly” after one of the inventors. Genentech claims that the process and certain starting materials used to produce Erbitux infringe on parts of the patents, and is pursuing an “aggressive litigation policy to protect its products against competition,” according to the complaint. Erbitux, made by Indianapolis-based Lilly’s ImClone unit, is approved in the United States to treat colon cancer and head and neck tumors. Lilly realized about $400 million in revenue from the drug in 2012. A phone call to Genentech’s media office seeking comment about the lawsuit wasn’t immediately returned.

Indianapolis-based CHV Capital joined Kaiser Permanente Ventures to invest an $8 million funding round for Health Catalyst, a Salt Lake City-based data warehousing company. The company already had raised $33 million in Series B funding to develop its technology, which helps hospitals measure quality data from their electronic medical record systems and report it to regulatory agencies and health insurers. Indiana University Health, the hospital system that is the parent of CHV Capital, already is using Health Catalyst’s technology.

The Indiana Senate voted last week to expand Medicaid using the state-run Healthy Indiana Plan. According to the Associated Press, Gov. Mike Pence and the Republican-led General Assembly have beat back efforts by Democrats to expand coverage using the traditional federal-state Medicaid program for the poor. Instead, they say, expansion should be done through the Healthy Indiana Plan or a similar state-run program, giving the state more control over costs. Expanding HIP would cost the state roughly 3 percent less than expanding Medicaid, state actuary Milliman Inc. estimated on Feb. 25. And supporters say HIP would promote more responsible decisions by enrollees. On the table is an expected $10.5 billion in federal aid for the state over the next seven years. But expanding HIP also could cost the state close to $2 billion over the period. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Tuesday that Pence likes the Senate's request for block grants from the federal government instead of matching funds for Indiana’s spending, as is the case with traditional Medicaid. "At least the leadership is all in favor of not using Medicaid expansion as the vehicle here because of the potential for massive cost in the future," Bosma said. Seven Democratic senators voted with all of the chamber's Republicans for the expansion, despite reservations about using HIP. "We don't agree with the bill the way it was written, but we want to make sure it remains alive," said Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage. Tallian asked lawmakers to approve a temporary expansion of Medicaid, for two years, similar to what Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, is supporting. But her amendment and similar efforts in the House failed.

Warsaw-based Zimmer Holdings Inc. said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have ended their investigation into a possible violation by Zimmer of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The investigation dates to September 2007. Zimmer is the world’s largest maker of orthopedic implants.

The National Science Foundation has awarded $500,000 to West Lafayette-based Tymora Analytical Operations LLC via a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant. Tymora will use the two-year grant to develop a technology called pIMAGO that helps lab researchers identify new targets for drugs to fight such diseases as cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and immune system disorders. Tymora, founded by two Purdue University professors, has also received $450,000 in previous grants from the National Institutes of Health.