Company news

July 29, 2013

Indianapolis-based ApeX Therapeutics Inc. has raised $2.5 million to fund clinical trials of an experimental childhood leukemia drug. The fundraising, disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, was partly funded by Indianapolis-based BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund II. ApeX’s drugs are based on the work of Mark Kelley, a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

WellPoint Inc. CEO Joe Swedish predicted July 24 that the Indianapolis-based company’s operating revenue will soar nearly 27 percent over the next three years, to a whopping $90 billion, up from about $71 billion this year. He added that he expected the revenue growth to also come with compounded growth in annual profit of 4 percent to 6 percent per year—even before any acquisitions. Previously, there were concerns both inside and outside WellPoint because a huge portion of the company's profit comes from its plethora of small employer customers. With Obamacare creating new online exchanges later this year for those small employers, it looked like WellPoint would struggle to compete with more health insurers and in unfamiliar markets, just to hold its profit steady. But now, most health insurers are just focusing on the local markets where they are already strong, WellPoint officials said—rather than trying to steal business from their peers. And WellPoint thinks its well-recognized brand and established relationships in local markets will win the day in the exchanges. In addition, WellPoint expects growth to come as half of the 14 states in which WellPoint operates its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans expand their Medicaid programs. WellPoint’s 2012 acquisition of Amerigroup Corp. is helping WellPoint move from an employer-focused company to one with a competitive business for managing government-funded health plans.

Sales grew but profit fell in the second quarter at Dow AgroSciences LLC, the company reported July 25. The Indianapolis-based ag biotech firm racked up nearly $1.9 billion in revenue in the quarter, an increase of 10 percent from the same period a year earlier. Quarterly profit totaled $290 million before accounting for interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization—down from last year’s second-quarter record of $307 million. Sales of crop-protection products rose 12 percent, driven by large gains in Latin America, where sales of new crop-protection products grew 14 percent. Dow AgroSciences is a unit of Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co.

Zimmer Holdings Inc. saw second-quarter earnings slump 29 percent as the orthopedic-device maker set aside an additional $47 million to cover the cost of lawsuits related to its Durom hip cups, according to the Associated Press. The Warsaw-based company stopped marketing the products in 2008 and has put more than $400 million in reserve to cover potential legal costs, including $108 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Earnings fell to $152.1 million, or 89 cents per share, from $214.5 million, or $1.22 per share, a year ago. If the legal reserve charge and other one-time items are excluded, Zimmer said, its earnings rose to $1.43 per share from $1.34 per share. Revenue increased 4 percent, to $1.2 billion. Zimmer narrowed its profit guidance for the year and now expects to earn $5.70 to $5.80 per share. The company had previously projected adjusted profit of $5.65 to $5.85 per share.

Eli Lilly and Co. earned $1.2 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 31 percent compared with the same quarter last year, the drugmaker reported July 24. Earnings per share totaled $1.11, compared with 83 cents a year ago. Because it outperformed analysts’ expectations, Lilly hiked up its profit expectations for the year by a range of 13 cents to 18 cents per share. The company now expects to earn $4.28 to $4.38 for the year. In the second quarter, Lilly was able to boost its sales 6 percent worldwide, to $5.9 billion. Lilly’s best-selling drug, the antidepressant Cymbalta, is set to lose its U.S. patent protection in December, after which its sales will switch to cheaper generics. Sales of Cymbalta grew 22 percent in the second quarter, to nearly $1.5 billion. Lilly is hoping to win approval on new diabetes and cancer drugs to offset those coming hits to its sales.  Lilly expects a 20-percent reduction in revenue in 2014 because of the U.S. expiration of the Cymbalta and Evista patents.

WellPoint Inc. earned $2.64 per share in the second quarter, the health insurer reported July 24. Excluding investment gains, WellPoint earned $2.60 per share, a 27.5-percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. WellPoint raised its full-year profit forecast 20 cents per share, excluding the impact of investments, to $8 per share. Overall profit for the quarter rose 24 percent from a year ago, to $800.1 million, as WellPoint’s customers continued to file modest amounts of medical claims. WellPoint spent 83.9 percent of its premium revenue on claims, a tick higher than in the first quarter but well below its predicted level of 85.5 percent for the year. WellPoint’s revenue for the quarter rose 16 percent, to $17.8 billion. WellPoint provided health benefits for 35.7 million Americans at the end of June, more than any other company in the United States.