Make your home page

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) says the U.S. government has made another purchase of 614,000 doses of the combination bamlanivimab and etesevimab antibody therapy for COVID-19.

As part of the nearly $1.3 billion purchase, Lilly says it will deliver the doses no later than Jan. 31.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization for the combination to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 and older who are at high risk for progressing to severe cases or hospitalization. It is also authorized to treat post-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in certain people.

In June, Lilly paused shipments of the therapy as it worked to determine its efficacy against the delta variant of COVID-19. However, shipments resumed in August after the FDA said the therapy was still effective in delta cases.

Lilly says a minimum of 400,000 doses will be delivered by the end of the year.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis is partnering with Anderson-based startup ChefsFridge Co. to develop a novel way to store and transport COVID-19 vaccines. The ArcticRx system is an ultra-low temperature pod that the partners say is the first of its kind to support the delivery of a two-dose vaccine regimen, specifically to rural, remote and international areas. The companies say the pod will help bridge a gap in the cold chain that is currently challenging the global vaccination effort.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, ChefsFridge co-founder Shane Bivens says the cold chain doesn’t go as far as one might expect.

“A lot of the delivery of vaccines or anything that needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures…that’s not extremely common in the rest of the world,” said Bivens. “What we see out there is that in order to get a vaccine to someone’s arm, it might take 12 different groups in order to be able to take that package off of an airplane or a ship and then ultimately get it to a person. So we wanted to look at could we just send one box that could be dispersed from one area and go out to serve smaller populations, as well as larger populations, and serve them over the entire time they would need to vaccinate.”

The ArcticRx pod was designed by Rolls-Royce in Indy and developed by ChefsFridge. Most current shipping coolers, according to ChefsFridge, are expensive, bulky, and only able to carry one round of vaccine doses at a time, whereas the ArcticRx pod is lightweight, can carry both vaccine doses, and does not require electricity to maintain the necessary ultra-low temperatures.

“At ultra-low temperature, you’ve got to use dry ice or other materials that can get to that temperature,” said Bivens. “Right now, most devices, you have about 3-5 days before you got to keep replenishing that dry ice within that container, whereas (with ArcticRx), you’re going through an entire vaccination cycle without having to replenish.”

ChefsFridge co-founder Stuart Lowry says the stability of the temperature within the pod, which measures about 30 inches square, is key. 

Bivens says they have three prototypes manufactured and tested and the next step is to secure funding and manufacturing partners to bring the pod to market. He says the company has been able to leverage some of its existing relationships with manufacturers, but also find some new ones.

“I think probably the most interesting thing of this entire story, at least for me, is can you actually do something this advanced and find the experts in the world…can you find them when you’re in the Midwest? And, we keep finding out that when we search for the experts, we keep finding them in Indiana or the surrounding area. It’s been an amazingly heartwarming and enlightening experience to see how much expertise resides within this local area.”

Bivens says the company is now working with manufacturers to determine the overall cost of the pods and how much funding needs to be raised to help bring the pods to market. Lowry says being such a young startup creates advantages in speed and agility.

“That’s one of the reasons why Rolls wisely picked a partner in the startup world,” said Lowry. “So even though we’re starting at ground zero, we can go quickly. So, if we can get the right partners and get the right things lined up, as a startup and as someone with dramatic and really extensive contacts across the state right now that can help with this project, we can make this happen very quickly versus a larger company.”

Bivens says if the company can secure the necessary funding and begin manufacturing, the ArcticRx pods can begin shipping with vaccines around the globe in a matter of months.

Aside from the ArcticRx system, ChefsFridge is developing an asynchronous platform to allow for peer-to-peer food sharing within neighborhoods, particularly those facing food insecurity.

“We’re all about food equity. So, looking at equity for vaccine delivery really is a perfect match for what we do and how we approach our business,” said Lowry.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Renew Indianapolis has received more than $3.6 million in federal COVID-19 Rapid Response funds. The nonprofit says it will use the funding to support neighborhoods that have been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as those that are historically underserved.

Renew says it received the maximum grant amount for each of its two certified Community Development Financial Institution funds. The Edge Fund will receive $1.8 million to help residents find affordable, inclusive and diverse housing opportunities. The Build Fund will receive the same amount for its mission of connecting businesses to flexible, affordable and responsible funding.

“The CDFI Rapid Response grant comes at a critical time for Indianapolis and its neighborhoods, and we are prepared to get these funds into the hands of homeowners and business owners who need it most right now,” said Evan Tester, director of lending for Renew Indianapolis. “Our focus is to support comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in communities like Martindale-Brightwood to improve the overall quality of life for the families who live, work, shop, and play there.”

The nonprofit says the funding adds to its pandemic response efforts. Earlier this year, Renew said it would invest more than $5 million to help homeowners affected by COVID refinance their mortgage and stay in their homes through the IndyAMP program. 

Children 12 and older can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine according to CDC guidelines. Dawn Moore, chief pharmacy officer for the Community Health Network joined us today with what parents and young people need to know about the vaccine. 

Community Health Network finds that some kids are eager to be vaccinated, but parents are hesitant; or parents want their children vaccinated, but teens are hesitant. Plus, they are likely to be on social media, where there is a lot of misinformation.

There is a schedule of vaccine clinics taking place at their partner schools all summer long.

For more from the Community Health Network visit,

For more information about myocarditis and the COVID-19 vaccine, check out this information from the CDC:


As more and more people get vaccinated, something you may be wondering is, what how your life and interactions will change as things get back to “normal.”

Dr. John Christenson, medical director of infection prevention for Riley Children’s Health and Sarah Waddle of AARP joined us today to share how should I act around my vaccinated friends/family, children under 12, non-vaccinated people and large crowds/gatherings.
For more information visit,


Much of the Latinx population has been hesitant to get vaccinated, according to Brandon Yohn, DO, family physician, at the Community Health Network. He joined us today to share what’s been preventing some people in that community from getting vaccinated, where people can go to get vaccinated soon and more.

Pop Up Clinic info:

For more information visit,


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to authorize Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds by early next week, according to a federal official work who spoke anonymously.

The FDA has already applied for emergency use authorization for the age group.

The anonymous official added that they expect the company to approve Pfizer for children even younger by sometime this fall. Pfizer’s vaccine is currently authorized for use in people 16 and older.

The company released results from a study of more than 2,000 volunteers between 12 and 15 years old by the end of March.

Director of Vaccine Research Center of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Dr. Robert Frenck Jr. said vaccinating this group of young Americans is crucial.

“If we don’t immunize that group, that’s going to leave a big part of the population that’s susceptible to the virus and be able to continue on the pandemic,” said Frenck.

Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected by the middle of this year from a U.S. study of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to-17-year-olds.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported children represented 22.4% of new cases reported in the past week.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs has announced the recipients of nearly $19 million in federal funding through its COVID-19 Response Grant Program. The funding will be awarded to 80 Hoosier communities for a variety of uses, including mental health services, childcare, and public WiFi locations.

The grants come from Indiana’s allocation of CARES Act funding. Local governments were able to apply for up to $250,000 in assistance.

OCRA says the funding can also be used for food pantry or bank services, subsidence payment programs, or grants or loans to businesses to help retain low-to-moderate income jobs.

“Based on additional research and community feedback, OCRA was able to open this round to municipalities of all sizes and expanded eligible activities,” said Denny Spinner, executive director of OCRA. “With a focus on assisting small businesses, expanding food bank and pantry services, and providing essential mental health services, these grants will impact Hoosiers and communities that are on the road to recovery.”

The funding comes in addition to the nearly $21 million awarded to 96 communities last year. You can view the new list of recipients by clicking here.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A team of Purdue University scientists is using its expertise in tracking the spread of malaria in Africa to track COVID-19 in Indiana.

The university says the lab, led by Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Giovanna Carpi, pivoted its efforts to study the virus that causes COVID, as well as its variants, when the pandemic began.

Purdue says the lab studies the genomics of infectious diseases to better understand how they spread. 

“We study genomic epidemiology, large-scale genomic studies of communicable disease, and our lab is investing in new sequencing and informatic technologies to study the genomes of infectious diseases to understand transmission,” Carpi said. “This allows us to do sequencing in real time, to conduct genomic surveillance, which has transformed our understanding of the spread of diseases.”

Carpi says while malaria and SARS-CoV-2 are very different, the procedures and computations to study their spread are very similar. She says the coronavirus may be easier to study because its genome is smaller and easier to monitor.

The lab is partnering with the Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to track the variants of the disease.

“We do this kind of tracking all the time for malaria,” Carpi said. “We switched quickly and were able to adapt to sequencing SARS-CoV-2 in December 2020 as variants of concern were introduced and started spreading in the United States. We had to scale up. We are the only lab in Indiana – along with our partners at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory – to be able to switch overnight to studying the SARS-CoV-2 genome. I have an amazing lab team, and we have been able to adapt with a very fast turnaround time.”

Carpi says the Indiana State Department of Health has sent samples of the viral genomes to her team because they “can do the work for them faster than the CDC labs can.” Since January, the team has sequenced and studied about 200 complete genomes.

Purdue says the information gathered from the team’s efforts will help to ensure city, state and university leaders have the most accurate and up-to-date information possible on the spread of the virus.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — New Jersey-based Catalent Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) is ramping up production of the Moderna Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine at its facility in Bloomington. The Wall Street Journal reports the pharmaceutical company has agreed to increase efforts to produce about 400 vials per minute.

Catalent plans to move the manufacturing of the vaccine to its new, high-speed vial filling line in Bloomington, plans for which were announced in September. The company plans to begin shipping the new doses next month, according to the publication.

The Bloomington facility provides fill-finish manufacturing of the Moderna vaccine, which involves vial filling and packaging. The new production line will allow Catalent to fill an additional 80 million vials per year. 

The partnership between Moderna and Catalent was first announced last June with the goal of producing an initial 100 million doses of the vaccine, a goal the company says it reached at the end of March.

Catalent says it will dedicate the new filling line for Moderna’s use through June of 2023. The Wall Street Journal reports Catalent expects to produce about one billion doses of the vaccine annually during that time.

“We appreciate this expanded collaboration with Catalent and the dedication of their team,” said Juan Andres, chief technical operations and quality officer. “This additional fill-finish capacity will be important for not only our COVID-19 vaccine, but also potentially for other programs in our clinical development pipeline.”

Catalent is also using the Bloomington facility to help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19. In an interview last month with Inside INdiana Business, plant general manager Denis Johnson said the company has been working at a very rapid pace to keep up with production.

You can read the full story from The Wall Street Journal by clicking here.