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Eli Lilly and Co. is trying to play catch-up in the hot trend of fighting cancer by targeting the body’s immune system. According to Reuters, Indianapolis-based Lilly signed two separate deals with New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc. and New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to pair their newly approved “immune-oncology” drugs with Lilly’s cancer drugs. Lilly will test its treatments—both those on the market and those still in its pipeline—in combination with Merck’s drug Keytruda and Bristol-Myers’ drug Opdivo. Both drugs, approved in late 2014, are known as PD-1 inhibitors because they help the body's own immune system fight cancer by blocking a protein called Programmed Death receptor (PD-1).

Hospitals are buying again, as evidenced by Hill-Rom Holdings Inc.’s 18-percent boost in revenue during the quarter ended Dec. 31. The Batesville-based maker of health care equipment expects to report revenue of $465 million in early February. That number was boosted by its acquisition of Germany-based Trumpf Medical, which makes surgical equipment. But Hill-Rom’s North American acute-care business, which has been hit by hospital cost-cutting in recent years, enjoyed a 19-percent boost in equipment sales and 10-percent boost in revenue, to $225 million.

Two professors at the Indiana University School of Optometry have won a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to better understand how aging and disease affect the nerves in the retina, which they hope leads to new treatments for glaucoma. William Swanson and Stephen Burns will work to develop high-resolution imaging for aging eyes, so doctors miss fewer diagnoses of glaucoma. The disease, which causes irreversible damage to the retina and optic nerve, is the world's second-leading cause of blindness.

The Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy and Contract Manufacturing signed up a second client for its niche drug manufacturing service. The Chao Center, at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, will now make generic drugs for Tennessee-based Focus Health Group. The Chao Center’s existing work is to make cycloserine capsules USP, which was developed by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The Chao Center opened in 2005 to make small batches of drugs for clinical trials.

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