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Lilly’s in-house trend continues with $140m insulin investment

By Natalie Morrison , 05-Nov-2012

Eli Lilly plans to boost its in-house insulin production capabilities will a $140m investment for its Indianapolis site.

The 80,000 sq ft addition will focus on production of insulin cartridges at the US site, which already houses plants for the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the injectable pens. The aim is to handle the full product lifecycle from one spot.

Lilly said the move is also a bid to meet the growing market for the drug in the US, and anticipates the facility – expected to reach completion in March 2014 – will be ready for a number of diabetes products due to come out of its expanding pipeline .

During a press conference, CEO John Lechleiter, said the investment is one of Lilly’s most significant in a decade, but that with predictions that one in three US adults will have the disease by 2050 diabetes is and will remain a big focus for the business.

In response to our questions surrounding the new facility, the firm emailed a statement from Lechleiter which read: “Lilly is committed to providing a full range of innovative treatment options for people with diabetes.” 

The in-house trend?

Lilly has traditionally outsourced much of its manufacturing , however the firm has recently favoured using its own amenities, particularly for insulin.

In an announcement earlier this year, it claimed it would reshuffle its existing infrastructure by equipping each diabetes facility with the capability to produce all insulin products – meaning less outsourcing to vendors.

At the time Kelley Murphy, director of communications, told in-PharmaTechnologist.com: “We're working toward a flexible model that will enable us to manufacture more in the same facility. This flexibility will translate into increased production and capacity.”

A further nod towards a preference for in-house production came when it brought chemistry work carried out in China back to Indianapolis, then in-sourced a team of scientists from AMRI .

And the firm is not the first major pharma to show interest in bringing some of its outsourced work back home. In February, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced plans to improve efficiency by carrying out more in-house work .

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