As pipeline fattens, Lilly commits $470M for new plant with 460 jobs

man in insulin production lab
Eli Lilly, which is already investing about $400 million in its insulin production site in its hometown of Indianapolis, now says it will build a new injectable drug and device plant in Durham, North Carolina. (Eli Lilly)

Eli Lilly has been stuffing its pipeline with a host of assets and has decided it needs a new injectable drug and device plant to squeeze them out the other end, assuming they are approved. The drugmaker says it will invest about $470 million and create 460 jobs in the process. 

The Indianapolis company today announced it will build the new plant in Durham, North Carolina, to make injectable drugs and delivery devices. 

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“This next-generation manufacturing facility will allow us to expand our capacity to make the Lilly medicines that are helping people with serious illnesses today, and help us prepare for new medicines coming from our robust pipeline in the future," Lilly CEO David Ricks said in a statement. 

Lilly has been building up to this point with a number of deals for biotechs working on injected cancer drug candidates, including last year’s $8 billion deal for Loxo Oncology. Earlier this month, it switched gears with a $1.1 billion deal for skin-drug-focused Dermira, which has atopic dermatitis drug lebrikizumab in its pipeline. 

RELATED: Lilly putting $400M into U.S. diabetes production, adding 100 jobs

The company expects to begin construction in the first half of 2020 and for the plant to be complete in 2023, a spokesperson said in an email. 

In exchange for jobs with average salaries of $72,000, the company will enjoy up to $11.59 million in public incentives and infrastructure benefits that will be paid out over 12 years if the project is completed as advertised.  

The announcement of this project comes roughly two months after Lilly said it would invest $400 million in new technologies, including robotics and data analytics, in its Indianapolis production site so it can make more diabetes treatments and prepare for pipeline products. That upgrade is expected to create 100 new jobs.