Eli Lilly adds $1.6B to its manufacturing spending plan in Indiana, breaking a company record

Eli Lilly’s investment plan for two new manufacturing sites in its home state is getting even bigger.

The Indianapolis pharma will add $1.6 billion and another 200 new jobs at its new manufacturing sites in the LEAP Innovation Park in Boone County, the company said Monday.

The new commitment will bring Lilly’s total investment at the site to $3.7 billion, making it the largest manufacturing investment at a single location in the company’s near-150-year history. The company expects to create up to 700 new jobs with the project.

About a year ago, Lilly unveiled a plan to build the two new manufacturing sites with a planned $2.1 billion investment. The facilities are meant to expand Lilly’s capacity to make active pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as support next-generation therapeutics such as genetic medicines.

“Through these new facilities, Hoosiers will make life-changing medicines that patients around the world need to address serious health challenges, including diabetes and cancer,” Lilly CEO David Ricks said in a statement Monday.

Lilly has been on a manufacturing expansion tear. Just last month, news broke that Lilly will pour an additional $500 million into its biologics plant in Raheen, Ireland, bringing the total funding there to about $1 billion.

Earlier in January, Lilly said it will add $450 million to a plant at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and bring the total investment for the facility to $1.7 billion. Another inejctables plant in Concord, North Carolina is getting $1 billion.

And the company may not be done just yet. “As Lilly prepares for future growth expected from potential new medicines to treat obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune conditions, the company anticipates further expansion of its global manufacturing footprint to ensure a sufficient supply of medicine,” Lilly said in a Monday statement.

The aggressive expansion comes as Lilly faces what investor relations chief Joe Fletcher called an “unprecedented” demand for its diabetes products. Newly launched GLP-1/GIP agonist Mounjaro went into a shortage right out the gate of its launch in Type 2 diabetes, and strong clinical data have raised expectations around the drug in obesity.

Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s disease candidate donanemab comes with its own blockbuster potential.

Altogether, Lilly previously hoped that four new launches could bring its 2023 revenue past $30 billion, from $28.3 billion in 2022.

But the company’s plans have hit some setbacks, including one related to manufacturing.

First, the FDA declined to grant donanemab an accelerated approval, asking for longer-term data from more patients. Then just last week, the FDA rejected Lilly’s mirikizumab in ulcerative colitis. A Lilly spokesperson told Fierce Pharma that the company is working with the FDA to address observations noted during a recent pre-approval manufacturing inspection.

One approval did arrive as planned. Jaypirca, a novel BTK inhibitor, was greenlighted in January to treat mantle cell lymphoma, and Lilly has several phase 3 trials underway for the drug in various blood cancers.

In addition to the manufacturing build-up, Lilly on Monday also announced a $15 million contribution to the Ivy Tech Foundation over a span of five years to support up to 1,000 scholarships for individuals interested in a career in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The partners will set up an experiential learning program at Ivy Tech Community College, including access to a smart manufacturing lab. The scholarships will mainly help those who are first-generation college students and those who have overcome socioeconomic disadvantages to complete two-year degrees or certificates in manufacturing, quality or related fields, Lilly said.

The new scholarship program adds to the $42.5 million Lilly committed to a separate, 10-year program with Purdue University. That program also comes with a guaranteed internship or co-op at Lilly for students.

Last year, Ricks criticized Indiana for not doing enough to improve local residents’ education level. During a speech in front of The Economic Club of Indiana last April, he noted a low pass rate among Indiana high school students on the state’s standardized math test. That’s important because many jobs will soon be replaced by positions that require math and science, he said.