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Corporate Report: Nov. 15

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  • | 10:01 a.m. November 15, 2013
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Clearwater Alere-owned lab center of Blue Cross lawsuit

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is suing Clearwater's Avee Laboratories, its parent company Alere Toxicology, a doctor and a New Jersey substance-abuse treatment center for $36 million in damages. The insurer is accusing Avee of illegally inducing health care providers to perform unnecessary drug tests that it verified at Avee.

Avee Laboratories disputes the acquisitions.

“We believe our laboratory testing is medically necessary as supported by established medical literature, and is only utilized in accordance with physicians' orders,” John Peterson, vice president and general manager of the medication monitoring and addiction business, says in a press release. “Arbitrary restrictions create a barrier to cost-effective and beneficial medical treatment of patients suffering from addictive disorders.”

Morphogenesis seeking investors, expects to raise $2 million
Morphogenesis Inc., a Tampa-based private biotechnology company, plans to raise up to $2 million from a sale of its common stock to investors. The company's private placement memorandum is expected to be available for review later this month.

The stock will be offered in minimum purchases of 50,000 shares for $1 per share. Subscribers to the first 500,000 shares will also receive a three-year option to purchase additional shares at a purchase price of $1.25 per share. Investors must have either a verified annual income of at least $200,000 ($300,000 with spouse) or a verified net worth of at least $1 million without including the value of the investor's primary home.

The 18-year-old Morphogenesis Inc. conducts cell therapy, biologics and tissue-engineering research and is focused on the development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine, called ImmuneFx. It's subsidiary, Veterinary Oncology Services Inc., currently offers the therapy to veterinary oncologist to help treat many types of cancers in dogs, cats and horses. The company is working toward having the therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat humans as well.

Robrady co-developed electric scooter debuts at Milan motorcycle show
Sarasota-based Robrady Design announced it unveiled the Vectrix VT-1 “tall wheel” e-scooter at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. Robrady designed and developed the two-wheel electric vehicle in collaboration with the zero-emissions, electric-vehicle manufacturer Vectrix.

The VT-1 comes with interchangeable lithium batteries, plug-and-play custom storage options, animated LCD instrument panel and an optional removable rear end for additional storage. The scooter has a top speed of 62 miles per hour and a range of up to 55 miles.

EICMA is the largest tradeshow for the two-wheeled transportation industry in the world. It attracts more than a half-million visitors each year.

Senior Home Care's Tampa office beats national re-hospitalization rate
Senior Home Care's Tampa office, a Medicare-certified home health care agency, is reporting patient re-hospitalization scores less than half the national average.

The office's 30-day re-hospitalization rate for Medicare patients with congestive heart failure is 13.67% (139 cases), while the national average stands at 24.7%. For all patients and all diagnoses, its re-hospitalization rate is 9.82% (499 cases), compared with the national average of 20%, reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicare-only patients) for the period Sept. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31.

Lynn Wilson, Florida's regional vice president of sales and operations for Senior Home Care, attributed the low re-hospitalization rate primarily to a new transitional-care program the firm uses to track patients after their release from the hospital.

Former YUM Brands executive hired as Bloomin' Brands International president
Tampa-based restaurant group Bloomin' Brands Inc. has hired Pat Murtha as the president of Bloomin' Brands International and executive vice president of Bloomin' Brands. Murtha will be responsible for the international growth strategy for Bloomin' Brands and will be a member of the executive leadership team.

“International development will continue to be a key driver of our long-term growth strategy,” Elizabeth Smith, chairwoman of the board and CEO, says in a press release. “We have built a world-class international team, and Pat's proven leadership in this arena will be invaluable as we build upon our current positive momentum internationally.”

Prior to joining Bloomin' Brands, Murtha held leadership roles at YUM Brands, where he spent 17 years in a variety of positions including chairman of the board and managing director of KFC Japan Ltd., chief operating officer of Pizza Hut and chief people officer for YUM Restaurants International. He also held leadership roles at Ameritech and PepsiCo. Inc.

The appointment comes as Bloomin' Brands Inc. reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Outback Steakhouse operations in Brazil. The company seeks to acquire 90% interest in the Brazilian joint venture. The partnership's first restaurant opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1997. Today it operates 47 Outback Steakhouse restaurants with more than 5,000 employees.


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