Middle Bit: Holmes Murphy launches company focused on workplace culture

Insurance brokerage Holmes Murphy announced it has launched a new company, EthOs. The new company will focus on improving workplace culture, engagement with multigenerational staff and addressing all aspects of an employee’s total well-being.

EthOs will be led by Ali Payne, an organizational engagement and culture expert who joined Holmes Murphy earlier this year.

The company’s goal “is to ensure the whole employee comes to work every day by helping our clients build a culture that empowers and motivates their biggest asset — their talent,” Payne said in a news release. “Research shows employees who are engaged stay with their employer longer, achieve higher productivity, and drive the organization forward.”

droneSAR rebrands to Sigma0

West Des Moines agtech startup droneSAR has rebranded to Sigma0 as the company looks to expand beyond drone services,.

Still in its startup phase, the new name symbolizes the many possibilities for the application of Sigma0’s crop technology beyond just drone technology for enabling a future of sustainable agriculture.

“We are a company developing insights about crops using radar technology. Our sensors support aerial and ground based platforms, not just drones, so it was vital to choose a new name that reflects the possibilities of our technology applications to allow us to grow,” said Alan Langman, CEO and founder of. “In addition to our sensor capabilities, our cloud-based agriculture analytics platform supports radar data from multiple sources, including satellites and moisture sensors in the ground.” 

KemPharm painkiller now Apadaz available nationwide

Coralville-based specialty pharmaceutical company KemPharm has announced that its prodrug painkiller, APADAZ, and its authorized generic, AG-APADAZ, are now available nationally through a licensing deal with pharma manufacturer KVK-Tech. 

APADAZ is intended for the short-term management of acute pain severe enough to require opioids.

KemPharm President and CEO Travis Mickle said in a release that health plans and payers continue to evaluate the product’s “formulary placement,” or positioning within their lists of prescription drugs approved for reimbursement.

He said several large national health plans, as well as state Medicaid plans in Alabama and Utah, have already added AG-APADAZ to their preferred drug lists. 

KemPharm’s other prodrug product candidates are focused on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stimulant use disorder.