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

By Dan Stanton+

23-Jul-2014
Last updated on 23-Jul-2014 at 12:59 GMT

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

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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