Catching up on two recent news items from West End-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals:
First, the company said an Illinois judge has ruled in its favor in a patent case related to its Acetadote product. Industry giant Mylan Labs and other companies had challenged Cumberland’s patent to a new formulation of Acetadote but the court granted the local company its patent through the summer of 2025 and issued a permanent injunction preventing other firms from marketing a generic version of Acetadote until then.
Separately, Cumberland executives have ended their relationship with Pernix Therapeutics, which had been handling parts of the supply chain, sales and promotion of Cumberland’s Omeclamox-Pak treatment for H. pylori infections and other ulcer diseases. Instead, Cumberland will now work with Gastro-Entero Logic — which helped develop Omeclamox-Pak and get regulatory approval for the treatment — and bring the drug’s promotion work in house.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center still plans to grow its affiliated network of physicians as the official split from Vanderbilt University nears, but not through the acquisition of other health systems.
Vice chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine Jeff Balser said the system would focus on collaborative affiliations with providers throughout the Southeast, according to the VUMC Reporter. The Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network currently compress 3,400 physicians and more than 50 hospitals in the region.
Expanding the VHAN was a central goal for the system after VUMC and Vanderbilt University announced an operational split last November. The legal separation is expected to occur in early 2016.
"As the national health care economy restructures to fewer health systems, we have a choice — leading such a system or being part of someone else’s system," Balser said. "We want to lead our system and control our destiny. We believe that health care should be delivered in a certain way."
The split from the university is expected to give the hospital administrative flexibility to partner with regional providers. VUMC leadership hopes to reach an additional 1 million lives in the Southeast by 2020, the Reporter said.
The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency last week approved freestanding emergency department plans for Sumner Regional Medical Center and TriStar Summit Medical Center.
HSDA counsel Jim Christoffersen confirmed that LifePoint Health hospital Sumner Regional will move forward with its five-room project, which is expected to cost $7 million. The TriStar Summit standalone ER in Mt. Juliet will consist of eight treatment rooms and has an estimated cost of $11.1 million.
Several other Middle Tennessee hospital systems have filed certificate-of-need applications for freestanding ERs this year. TriStar Southern Hills and Saint Thomas Midtown were both denied in March for projects planned in Brentwood, while Community Health Systems' subsidiary Gateway Medical Center was approved last month for an ER in Clarksville.
Healthcare Realty Trust has paid nearly $28 million for a three-story medical office building on the campus of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. The deal is the latest in a number of Washington acquisitions for the Nashville-based real estate investment trust, which finished 2014 with $210 million invested in the Evergreen State. The Puget Sound Business Journal has more details here.
Hospital company LifePoint Health will soon have more cash in the bank than expected. The company's offering of eight-year senior notes grew Thursday to $500 million from $300 million and has been priced at 5.875 percent. Executives plan to use the moeny for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions and share buybacks. LifePoint stock (Ticker: LPNT) was up more than 1 percent to nearly $70 early Friday.
Avondale Partners analyst Paula Torch says investors should look at the beaten-up shares of AAC Holdings — they've recovered only slightly from their summer slump — as a chance to buy a company with a clear growth pipeline and the financing to pull it off.
Yes, the legal issues in California that caused the stock to fall in the summer are still there, Torch says, but she has her fingers crossed that there will be clarity in the coming months. In the meantime, the AAC team has access to $100 million in M&A capital, and an organic expansion push should grow to 1,200 the beds in AAC's portfolio next year, with another 150 new beds slated for 2017.
"AAC continues to execute well and fundamentals remain intact with overhangs resulting in a compelling valuation vs. growth. We believe census remains strong, referral sources are healthy, and recent financing provides an extended bridge to execute on its current expansion plans," said Torch, who is sticking by her $32 price target for AAC, shares of which are changing hands this morning at $22.70.
Lipscomb and Vanderbilt universities have simultaneously announced work fueled by federal monies.
HIV diagnoses are disproportionately high among young African American males, especially those who engage in sexual activity with men, according to a recently completed $1.5 million VU study supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
Unrelatedly, LU's educational program for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities has received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) initiative. Of note, Vanderbilt secured a TPSID grant, too.
The Vanderbilt study involved VU and First Response Center, a nonprofit HIV/AIDS prevention and care organization run by Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in North Nashville.
The study, “Black Young Men Building Capacity,” was developed by Sandra L. Barnes, a professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.
“Interventions and services are out there, but the numbers are still rising,” Barnes, lead investigator of the study, said in a release. “That suggests there is a disconnect somewhere. How do you establish trust and reach a demographic that has a history of being marginalized?”
During the next five years, Barnes (pictured) said the aim is to reach 5,000 members of the target population of black males who have sex with males, known as MSM. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSM account for 75 percent of new HIV diagnoses among 18- to 24-year-old black men.
“The overall goal of BYMBC is to educate, equip and empower members of the target population to access prevention and testing services,” Barnes said.
Read more here.
Lipscomb and VU were two of only 25 universities in the nation to receive the aforementioned TPSID grant. The grant will help support and expand services in the LU College of Education’s IDEAL (Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb) program.
“This grant is significant to our IDEAL program in several ways,” Deborah Boyd, LU College of Education dean, said in a release. “Being one of only a few universities in the country to receive a TPSID grant is a strong indication that the program we launched just last year is already being recognized for its quality and for the positive impact it is having having on campus and all students, in addition to the students in the program, who otherwise might not have an opportunity to have a college experience. The size of the grant is also very significant in that it will allow us to add resources, to serve students and their families better, to expand our programming.”
IDEAL is a two-year certificate program, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, designed to encourage and support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience college as their peers do. Launched in January 2014, the IDEAL program includes academic and skill-building classes, exercise sessions, daily internships, leisure time and a daily study period.
The initial cohort included three students. This fall, 19 students comprising three cohorts are enrolled in the program. (Read more here.)
(Photo courtesy of VU/John Russell)
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