Lilly swaps dry powders for insulin at Indiana site in post-patent shake-up

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Harding St, Indianapolis facility to have its manufacturing processes 're-balanced'
Harding St, Indianapolis facility to have its manufacturing processes 're-balanced'

Related tags Eli lilly and company

Patent expiration and a large molecule pipeline has prompted Eli Lilly to repurpose a solid oral dose plant in Indiana.

According to company spokesman Edward Sagebiel, recent loss of exclusivity of a number of small molecule drugs has led to the restructure of a production site in Indianapolis, Indiana, as part of a “re-balance”​ of manufacturing activities across its dry-products manufacturing network.

“The natural life-cycle of products played a role in this re-balancing,”​ he told us. The firm also said it is commencing the transfer of products from the site, known as Indy Dry, to other dry-product sites.

Two of the products made at "Indy Dry", the anti-depressive drug Cymbalta and the anti-psychotic Zyprexa, were both one-time blockbusters for Lilly. Cymbalta clocked in sales of $5.1bn​ (€3.8bn) in 2013 – accounting for a fifth of the firm’s total revenue – but US exclusivity was lost on December 11 last year.

Zyprexa lost exclusivity in October 2011 affecting sales for the year​ by 44% compared to 2010.

Rebalancing Jobs

Lilly cut hundreds of jobs​ in preparation for Cymbalta’s expiration, but this was mostly in its US sales force. However, according to the news site IndyStar​, 100 manufacturing jobs at Indy Dry are under threat in this restructuring programme.

This was not confirmed by Sagebiel, who told this publication “there will be minimal job transfers as a part of this re-balancing,”​ with any employees affected being given opportunities to move elsewhere within manufacturing.

Lilly has been investing heavily in order to support the manufacture of its larger molecule products, and a large chunk of the $700m pledged last November​ is being invested into the Indianapolis site.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to align our capabilities with the needs of our portfolio, which includes growth in insulin and biotechnology-derived products,”​ the firm said, adding solid dosage sites in Spain and Puerto Rico will also be affected.

The re-balance falls in line with the firm’s strategy of keeping its more complex manufacturing processes in-house, and Sagebiel confirmed any manufacturing fallout from Indy Dry would not be transferred to third parties.

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