2024-05-27| Manufacturing

Eli Lilly Breaks Records with $9B Total Investment in Indiana Weight-loss Drug Expansion

by Bernice Lottering
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Eli Lilly & Co. plans to invest $5.3 billion to increase production of a key ingredient in its weight-loss and diabetes treatments due to high demand causing shortages.

On May 24, Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced that it has more than doubled its investment in its Lebanon, Indiana, manufacturing site with an additional US$5.3 billion commitment, bringing the total investment from US$3.7 billion to US$9 billion. This expansion will boost Lilly’s capacity to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for Zepbound (tirzepatide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) injections, the weight-loss and diabetes treatments that have seen extremely high demand resulting in gross shortages. 

US$18 Billion: Largest API Manufacturing Investment 

Since 2020, Lilly has invested more than US$16 billion to build, upgrade and acquire pharmaceutical facilities in both the United States and Europe. New locations outside of Indiana include Research Triangle Park and Concord, North Carolina, Limerick, Ireland, and Alzey, Germany. Additionally, the company is investing US$1.2 billion to upgrade existing manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis and acquiring an injectable manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, from Nexus Pharmaceuticals. These manufacturing investments collectively amount to over US$18 billion.

David A. Ricks, Eli Lilly’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Today’s announcement tops the largest manufacturing investment in our company’s history and, we believe, represents the single largest investment in synthetic medicine API manufacturing in U.S. history,” 

The GIP and GLP-1 incretin receptor activators, the only approved treatments of their kind, have seen strong demand and great huge shortages, which is representative of the urgent need for type 2 diabetes and obesity treatments. 

Tirzepatide Primary Driver in Manufacturing Expansion, Increasing Job Opportunities 

Lilly began a major manufacturing expansion in 2020, driven primarily by research and development of tirzepatide. Prior to the approval of Mounjaro (2022) and Zepbound (2023), Lilly was already taking risks on these strategic investment decisions so that the drugs would be immediately available to patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity upon approval.

Now, as part of this additional US$5.3 billion investment in the Lebanon site, located within Indiana’s LEAP Research and Innovation District, Eli Lilly also plans to create 200 full-time jobs for highly skilled workers, including engineers, scientists, operating personnel, and lab technicians. This will bring the total number of full-time employees to approximately 900 once the facility is fully operational. Additionally, the site’s development is expected to generate over 5,000 construction jobs.

Lilly’s massive expansion initiatives follow similar investments across the board. Specifically, the industry giant announced its fiscal commitment of US$15 million over the next five years to the Ivy Tech Foundation earlier this month. This particular investment is directed at funding up to 1,000 scholarships for individuals pursuing careers in pharmaceutical manufacturing. In May 2022, Lilly announced plans to invest $2.1 billion and create up to 500 new jobs at LEAP. At the groundbreaking in Lebanon in April 2023, Lilly added another $1.6 billion investment and 200 new jobs.

“This multi-site campus will make our latest medicines, including Zepbound and Mounjaro, support pipeline growth and leverage the latest technology and automation for maximum efficiency, safety and quality control. Importantly, we are investing in our home state of Indiana, creating high-wage, advanced manufacturing, engineering and science jobs for hundreds of current and future Hoosier families.” stated Ricks.

State to Collaborate on Infrastructure Solutions, Operations Slated to Begin in 2026

To support Lilly’s expansion projects, states will collaborate on infrastructure solutions such as road improvements, utilities such as water and electricity, as well as workforce development commitments and certain economic incentives. The state government’s workforce development support includes the provision of land (subject to approval) to build a learning and training center that will form part of the larger LEAP industrial development, and a commitment to work with Eli Lilly to raise funds to complete the center’s construction.

The new training center will be consistent with Lilly’s previously announced financial support for scholarships and training programs at Purdue University and the Ivy Tech Community College. It will also synergize with the 16 Tech training center led by BioCrossroads, a part of Indiana’s recently designated Tech Hub.

“Eli Lilly’s commitment to the needs of our life-changing medicines extends beyond construction to improving educational opportunities and upskilling the world’s future workforce,” said Edgardo Hernandez, executive vice president and president of Lilly Manufacturing Operations. “Academics are a critical component of industry and government. A key partner in driving innovation in our state and global communities.”

Since breaking ground on the Lebanon manufacturing site in 2023, Lilly has actively developed much of the nearly 600 acres within the complex. Medicine production in Lebanon is expected to begin by late 2026, with operations scaling up through 2028. eli lilly lebanon indiana, eli lilly stock, eli lilly stock price, eli lilly zepbound, zepbound, eli lilly weight loss, eli lilly alzheimer’s drug, pfizer stock, eli lilly jobs, eli lilly careers, eli lilly lebanon

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