Eli Lilly inks deal to acquire Nexus manufacturing plant in Wisconsin as Mounjaro and Zepbound shortages drag on

As doctors and patients in the U.S. grapple with widening shortages of the popular diabetes therapy Mounjaro and its obesity counterpart Zepbound, the maker of the tirzepatide drugs, Eli Lilly, is forging ahead on its quest to expand capacity for its injectable medicines.

Lilly is paying an undisclosed sum to acquire Nexus Pharmaceuticals’ injectable production facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in a bid to further expand its manufacturing network and respond to “increased demand for the company’s medicines,” according to a Monday press release.

Should the deal go through, Lilly figures production at the facility could commence at the end of 2025. Given that the Pleasant Prairie production facility doesn’t offer contract manufacturing services, the site will become wholly devoted to Lilly’s own manufacturing efforts once it changes hands.

In a statement, Lilly’s executive vice president and president of manufacturing, Edgardo Hernandez, added that the company is “[looking] forward to welcoming talented new Nexus colleagues to Lilly from the Pleasant Prairie facility.”

Nexus CEO Usman Ahmed suggested in a statement of his own that the “combination of our teams and infrastructure with Lilly’s global platform will benefit patients all over the world.”

The press release didn’t specify how many Nexus employees at the plant will transfer to Lilly’s team once the acquisition goes through. Eli Lilly did not immediately respond to Fierce Pharma’s request for comment.

Founded in 2003, Nexus has made a name for itself creating innovative processes to manufacture specialty and generic drugs that are easier to use, less labor-intensive and more streamlined.

In 2019, the company started construction on its $100 million, 84,000-square-foot Pleasant Prairie facility, which officially opened its doors in 2021 and kicked off commercial production in 2023, according to Nexus’ website.

Aside from production services, Nexus’ site also offers packaging plus analytical, environmental and microbial testing as well as supports utilities warehousing.

Lilly, for its part, has been hustling to build out its manufacturing network in the face of intense demand for its tirzepatide franchise of drugs.

Last week, the FDA once again extended its projection for the time it will take to resolve an ongoing shortage of Lilly’s diabetes drug Mounjaro and added most doses of Lilly’s obesity medicine Zepbound to the agency’s shortage database. Previously, the regulator had estimated Mounjaro would be limited through April. Now, all but one dosage strength of Mounjaro are expected to be in short supply through 2024’s second quarter. The FDA listed the reason behind both shortages as the result of a “demand increase.”

In response to the immense popularity of its drugs, Lilly has been working to build out a manufacturing plant in North Carolina, which is expected to come online by the end of this year.

Separately, Lilly last fall drew up plans for a $2.5 billion plant in Alzey, Germany, where it eventually plans to employ 1,000 people.

The site, which is expected to kick off operations in 2027, will grow Lilly's manufacturing network for injectables and support the company's efforts to meet demand for several drugs, including those in its diabetes and obesity portfolio, the company said at the time.