Company news

August 5, 2013

Plunging revenue from blood glucose monitors has forced Roche Diagnostics Corp. to cut its staff, the company informed the workers last week. Roche, which operates its North American headquarters out of Indianapolis, suffered a 14-percent decline in revenue in its diabetes care unit during the first six months of the year. Roche has put that unit up for sale, according to a May report by the Reuters news agency. Roche spokesman Todd Siesky declined to disclose the number of workers that will be let go, only saying that jobs will be eliminated over the next several months. The cuts will affect Roche’s customer service group in Fishers and its diabetes manufacturing plant on the far northeast side. Between the two sites, Roche employs more than 900 diabetes care workers in the metro area. During the first six months of this year, Roche’s North American sales of diabetes products totaled $224 million. During the same period of 2012, diabetes sales in North American totaled about $257 million. And it’s going to get worse. The price of blood glucose monitors—which account for 90 percent of Roche’s diabetes care revenue—will be hammered by a new competitive bidding process instituted July 1 by the federal Medicare agency. Some projections indicated the Medicare program would drive down its payments 72 percent.

Indianapolis venture capitalist Matt Neff is the new CEO of Indianapolis-based AIT Laboratories, the drug-testing lab founded by Michael Evans. Evans stepped aside once before, in early 2012, and was replaced by Ron Thieme, who had been vice president of information technology. But the move didn’t work out, and Evans returned to the top job that fall. Now, Evans, 69, is stepping aside again, and Neff is becoming chairman, president and CEO, effective Monday. (See related story above.) Evans will remain chairman emeritus and continue as CEO of AIT sister company AIT Bioscience. Neff, meanwhile, is stepping down as CEO and president of CHV Capital, the venture capital arm of Indiana University Health, a post he held for six years. IU Health said the CHV Capital board would conduct a search for his replacement. AIT, founded in 1990 by Evans, then an Indiana University School of Medicine professor, caught fire about 10 years ago when it became the nation’s pioneer in urine drug tests to help doctors monitor patients taking narcotics for chronic pain. But AIT has been in turnaround mode after failing to respond quickly to deep cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates for basic drug tests. In 2009, Evans sold the company to employees for $90 million, with payments to him staggered over a number of years.

Community Health Network and Johnson Memorial Health opened the doors to a new health pavilion that will house doctors from both Community Physician Network and Johnson Memorial Physician Network, including specialists in family medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, women’s health and general surgery. The facility will also offer walk-in lab testing, an imaging center, and physical and occupational therapy. Indianapolis-based Community and Franklin-based Johnson Memorial formed a partnership two years ago.