Eli Lilly Opens Bioproducts Pilot Manufacturing Plant

A lab and research center will round out new biotech complex.

As part of a $1 billion investment in its biotechnology drug research and development capabilities, Eli Lilly and Co.completed the first phase of a $560 million expansion to its biotech complex in Indianapolis.

On Oct. 23 a bioproducts pilot manufacturing plant was dedicated. According to a company statement, " the state-of-art plant will help bring advanced biotech medicines to patients through more efficient, productive and dependable manufacturing processes."

The plant will manufacture small-scale amounts of drug for use in clinical trials. Lilly built the facility to allow it to operate up to one-half of the manufacturing capacity needed for full-scale commercialization. This approach helps to assure a seamless transition from development to full-scale manufacturing -- a notoriously complex process in biotechnology -- giving Lilly speed to market and cost advantages over its biotech competitors, according to the company.

Additionally a bioproducts research and development lab will be opened during the first quarter of 2007 and will become Lilly's "R& D never center." At this 475,000 facility research will be conducted in molecular and cell biology, analytical science, pharmaceutics and engineering. A research support facility, measuring 100,00 square feet and staffed with more than 700 scientists and engineers, will also become operational in early 2007.

The construction of the three buildings, along with Lilly's acquisition in 2004 of Applied Molecular Evolution -- a San Diego-based operation that conducts protein optimization research -- accounts for a total biotech capital investment of approximately $1 billion.

"Inside these new buildings, the latest in highly sophisticated technologies and equipment for conducting biotech research and development have been incorporated," said Steven Paul, M.D., Lilly's executive vice president of science and technology. "Taken together -- the facilities, the technologies, and an interdisciplinary approach -- we've created a new model for Lilly that gives the company a competitive advantage in bringing breakthrough medicines to patients in a more efficient, productive and dependable manner."

Lilly is current the fifth largest biotechnology company in the world as measured by total sales. Approximately 30% (eight drugs) of its total drug portfolio are biotech medicines in several therapeutic categories, representing approximately $3.6 billion of the company's 2005 sales.

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