Lilly invests across all insulin sites in prep for diabetes epidemic

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investment

Lilly has invested over $1bn in insulin production over the last year
Lilly has invested over $1bn in insulin production over the last year
Eli Lilly is investing over $700m (€518m) at a number of its insulin producing sites globally saying it is a response to the “growing diabetes epidemic.” 

In 2012, Eli Lilly told this publication it would be doubling its insulin output by 2017​ without adding any plants and without going down a third party manufacturing route, and late last week the Pharma Giant announced it would invest significantly production sites in France, US, Puerto Rico and China. .

Spokesperson Andrew McLaughlin told in-Pharmatechnologist.com: “The investments support our current insulin therapies as well as the two basal insulins in our pipeline – basal insulin peglispro and our new insulin glargine product.”

As part of the investment, $245m will be invested in the company’s facilities in Indianapolis, US and Puerto Rico. The latter, an API facility for Humalog, was subject to a Warning Letter in 2010​ from the US Food and Drug Administration, but McLaughlin assured us this had been properly remediated.

This will be the third investment and expansion at the Indianapolis plant in the space of a year, pushing total spend to over $500m.

The recent glut of investment began last November at the site – Lilly’s HQ and an insulin production site since 1923 - with $140m ploughed into its API and injector pen​ production units. Just five months later another $180m was thrown into the site​ as part of Lilly’s long-term preparation to service the growing demand for diabetes products.

According to President of Lilly Diabetes, Enrique Conterno: “Insulin is a cornerstone of diabetes treatment and its use will only continue to increase given the rising number of people with diabetes around the world.”

Other facilities to benefit in this bout of investment include $250m in China, and $120m at a French plant both to expand insulin cartridge manufacturing capacity.

Homeward Bound

Lilly’s packaging partner Rexam in France has already seen the fallout of Lilly’s diabetes focus, investing $20.3m into its Verpilliere site near Lyon back in February​. At the time, Rexam told this publication the expansion was due to demands from Lilly to increase volumes.

However, packaging aside, Lilly has no intention of using third-party manufacturers to make its insulin products.

“We have built up significant internal capability in insulin manufacturing and believe we can leverage this more effectively than using third parties,”​ McLaughlin told us.

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