Company news

September 9, 2013

Indianapolis-based Harlan Laboratories may violate loan covenants in the next three to six months, and its ability to refinance a $280 million loan that matures in July 2014 is “highly questionable,” according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service. It’s unclear if the privately held company has an escape plan brewing. Harlan Laboratories employs about 330 people in the area and has annual sales of $326 million. The company appeared on the verge of pulling off a $305 million refinancing in February, but the deal fell apart and was shelved in April, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Corp. The ratings agencies say the company is not performing well enough to attract lenders. And even if it could engineer a refinancing, it likely would struggle to make the required payments. By Moody’s tally, Harlan’s “adjusted debt” is a whopping 7-1/2 times its so-called EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

Indianapolis-area hospitals are billing patients insured by their employers 264 percent more for outpatient services than what the federal Medicare program would pay for the same services for the same patients in the same facilities. That’s what researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Studying Health System Change found when they analyzed claims data for 590,000 patients, all below the age of 65, who were covered in 2011 by the union-negotiated health plans at automakers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The study was paid for by an organization that is funded by the automakers, the UAW and the International Union. The study compared the claims from 13 metro areas against one anther, all of them in the Midwest. Indianapolis had the highest hospital outpatient prices among all cities and the second-highest inpatient prices, behind only Kansas City. Interestingly, Kokomo had the third-highest inpatient prices and the second-highest outpatient prices. Physician prices in Indianapolis were in the middle of the pack, about 10 percent to 20 percent higher than Medicare prices. The authors of the study say hospitals’ market power, which has increased in recent years due to consolidation among hospitals and doctors, is the most likely explanation for the higher prices.

New Jersey-based Covance Inc. has formed a collaboration with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute to conduct early-stage clinical trials for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The Indiana CTSI, which was formed by partnership of Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame universities, will provide access to a 13,606-square-foot, 24-patient facility at IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis. The institute also could, if needed, expand operations into a recently renovated 33,078-square-foot, 50-patient facility in the same building. This space reopens to clinical research for the first time in six years due to the efforts of the Indiana CTSI. The alliance between Covance and the Indiana CTSI was facilitated by BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis-based life sciences business development group. Covance already conducts Phase 1 clinical trials at an 80-bed facility in Evansville. But there has been a paucity of Phase 1 clinical trial work in Indianapolis since locally based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. shut down its clinic at the IU School of Medicine in 2007.