Lilly's Lechleiter: 'We're a biotech'

Tomorrow is the first day on the CEO job for Eli Lilly's John Lechleiter (photo), and to mark the occasion, the Associated Press profiled the Harvard-trained chemist. The man behind the title walks to work, over a mile each way. Roman Catholic, he went to parochial schools with his eight siblings. He shared the attic of the family home with four brothers.

These days, he's a blogger. He updates his in-house web log weekly, using his BlackBerry to write new entries. And he's a longtime Lilly insider who's facing big expectations when he takes over the company tomorrow. Lechleiter ascends at a time when Lilly is under siege by states and the feds for alleged Zyprexa marketing infractions and when patents are running out for it and other big products. Signs of the challenge ahead: "In a way, we're a biotech company," Lechleiter told the Associated Press, reaching for the label that so many drug makers with pipeline worries would like to apply to themselves. "Hidden within what's called a large pharma company."

- read the AP article in BusinessWeek

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