Company news

August 4, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new Type 2 diabetes drug from Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. and its German partner, Boehringer Ingelheim, according to the Associated Press. The drug, called Jardiance, is designed to block glucose reabsorption in kidneys and remove excess glucose through urine. Unlike many other diabetes treatments, it does not depend on a patient's insulin levels to be effective. European Union regulators approved the drug, also known as empagliflozin, in May. Lilly is expected to garner $518 million in annual sales from Jardiance by 2019, according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg earlier this year. Lilly and Boehringer had said FDA didn't approve the drug because of concerns about the Boehringer factory in Germany where it will be made. But a Lilly spokeswoman said Friday those concerns have been resolved.

Indianapolis-based SonarMed Inc., which makes an airway monitoring system used in operating rooms and intensive care units, has raised $2.4 million from institutional investors, according to the BioCrossroads life sciences business development group. The Series A1 funding round was led by Baylor Angel Network, Hyde Park Angels, Visiontech Partners, BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund II, Spring Mill Ventures, two former Abbott Laboratories executives and the SonarMed management team. SonarMed will use the money to develop a second version of its adult monitoring system as well as a version for children and infants. “Providers are being pressured to find new and better ways to provide higher quality care with a focus on patient safety, and doing so with fewer resources,” said SonarMed CEO Tom Bumgardner. “Consequently, health care systems are increasingly interested in our technology.”

Endocyte Inc. swung to a second-quarter profit of $22.4 million due to a change in accounting after its leading drug candidate failed and its partner, New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc., cancelled its development contract. The West Lafayette-based drug development firm earned 52 cents per diluted share compared with a loss of 23 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Revenue shot to $49.2 million from $16.5 million. All of that money comes from collaboration payments from Merck, not all of which were immediately recognized in Endocyte’s accounting. But now that the contract has ended, Endocyte accelerated its accounting recognition of the revenue, producing the spike in revenue and profit. After the failure in May of its drug vintafolide as a treatment for ovarian cancer, Endocyte is continuing to study the drug as a non-small cell lung cancer drug. The company has no products on the market.

WellPoint Inc. beat expectations with its second-quarter profit and raised its full-year profit forecast. But unlike peers UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, the Indianapolis-based health insurer could not improve its profit over the same quarter last year. Profit fell 8.6 percent, to $731.1 million, from $800.1 million. Excluding investment gains and other special items, WellPoint earned $2.44 per share. On that basis, Wall Street analysts expected $2.26, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. WellPoint raised its full-year profit forecast 10 cents per share, saying it now expects more than $8.60 per share. Revenue rose 4.4 percent to nearly $18.5 billion. Analysts expected $18.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.