Company news

June 16, 2014

Indianapolis-based Harlan Laboratories quietly sold itself last month to United Kingdom-based Huntingdon Life Sciences. Huntingdon has 1,200 employees, most of them in the UK and Princeton, N.J. Harlan has about 2,300 employees worldwide, including 300 locally. “There are no plans to have any layoffs in the area, and Huntingdon is planning to continue an Indianapolis presence,” Harlan Chief Financial Officer Doug Vaughan said. “We would hope our business will grow locally.” Harlan had been weighed down by declining revenue in its contract research business and a pile of debt, which credit analysts deemed a serious liability. Already out of the picture is Harlan CEO Hans Thumen. Contacted via LinkedIn, Thumen declined to comment. But Vaughan said he left when the deal closed because “the combined company only needed one CEO.” The huge debt load was left over from the 2005 leveraged buyout of the company by San Francisco-based Genstar Capital. In early 2013, Harlan nearly engineered a $305 million restructuring, but the deal fell apart. Last fall, IBJ reported that Genstar might sell the company to avert default on $280 million in debt due to be paid off in July 2014.

Community Health Network and Eskenazi Health quietly called off their engagement months ago, when they found out federal laws effectively prohibited their marriage. Leaders of the two Indianapolis-based hospital systems are holding out hope they still may be able to join, but doing so would require Congress to change federal tax laws—and getting anything passed in Congress these days is extremely difficult. The two hospital systems announced in February 2013 a joint operating partnership that would create a joint board to form common strategies, pricing and clinical collaborations. They staged a splashy press conference at City Market, with public officials in attendance. Their plan would have created a primary care behemoth, with more front doors to access health care than any other hospital system in the area. That would have put Community and Eskenazi in a position to scoop up customers newly insured under Obamacare. But in late September, Community CEO Bryan Mills called off the deal so the organizations could focus on changes coming from Obamacare and so Eskenazi could focus on completing its new 315-bed hospital, which opened in December. The rules for the special bonds Eskenazi sold to finance its $754 million hospital require that the recipient of proceeds be separate from any private organizations. The bonds were part of the Build America section of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, and offered lower interest rates for publicly funded projects.

Dr. Ora Pescovitz, the former CEO of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, is returning to Indianapolis to work for Eli Lilly and Co. Pescovitz, 57, spent the past five years as CEO of the University of Michigan Health System. Pescovitz, who stepped down from her Michigan position June 1, will join Lilly in October as a senior vice president, medical. Initially, she will work under Dr. Tim Garnett, Lilly’s chief medical officer, focusing on medical policy issues, such as Lilly’s relationship with health care professionals, expanding access to Lilly medicines, and patient support programs. After what Lilly is calling an “orientation period,” Pescovitz will move to “a senior medical leadership role,” according to a statement from Lilly spokeswoman Janice Chavers.