Eli Lilly taps Bristol Myers' Melissa Seymour to lead quality unit amid manufacturing expansion

Eli Lilly appointed Melissa Seymour as executive vice president of global quality as the pharma giant looks to expand manufacturing capacity to meet booming demand for its diabetes and obesity drugs.

Seymour is currently the chief quality officer at Bristol Myers Squibb. She will take over the role held by Johna Norton, who announced her retirement earlier this year after 34 years at the company.

As part of her new duties, Seymour will also sit on Lilly’s executive committee, effective in late July, the company said in a June 4 press release.

The appointment comes in the wake of the May announcement by the Indianapolis-based drugmaker that it would shell out an additional $5.3 billion to build a gigantic manufacturing complex 30 miles away in Lebanon, Indiana.

The investment is aimed at boosting API production for its injected tirzepatide products Mounjaro, for Type 2 diabetes, and Zepbound, for obesity.

Mounjaro generated $1.8 billion in sales in the first quarter of this year, tripling what it earned in the first quarter of 2023. Zepbound accounted for $517 million in sales in its first full quarter on the market after being approved by the FDA last November.

“As we expand global capacity to meet demand and support pipeline growth, we remain committed to ensuring our medicines are produced to the highest quality standards," David Ricks, Lilly's chair and chief executive, said in the release. “With more than 25 years of experience and a proven track record of leading strategic quality initiatives across product lifecycles, Melissa will further advance our culture of quality.”

Prior to BMS, Seymour worked at Biogen, Novo Nordisk and GSK. She earned bachelors' degrees in biological sciences and biochemistry from North Carolina State University and a MBA from Duke University.