Night Read (Minnesota): UnitedHealth Group profits up 30 percent; Surmodics opens a drug development center in Alabama

Despite a tough economy and uncertainties over health care reform, UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest private insurer, said sales jumped 7.3 percent to $8.7 billion.

Here are some news and notes from a day in MedCity, Minnesota:

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose 30 percent as growth in its government businesses offset losses in commercial enrollment, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

SurModics Inc. of Eden Prairie opened a 90,000 square foot drug development center in Alabama, according to The Birmingham News.

Red Herring magazine named Orasi Medical Inc. to its annual Global 100 list of top technology companies whose innovations will disrupt industries. Orasi, a spin off from the University of Minnesota, is developing software that can help pharmaceutical companies developing drugs to treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s test their therapies and speed up clinical trials.

Protectus Medical Devices Inc., a Minneapolis-based maker of self sheathing, hypodermic syringes, said it signed a national sales and distribution agreement with Synergistic Medical Network LLC.

Medtronic Inc. said it has pledged $1 milllion to help victims of Hati’s devastating earthquake last week. Product and employee contributions could boost the total over $1.25 million, the company said.