Biotech rumour mill: Eli Lilly, a big pharma company, rumours to invest an additional $180 million in the company's Indianapolis-based insulin manufacturing operations. This is in addition to the company's November 2012 announcement of a $140 million expansion of insulin manufacturing activities. Lilly also is proposing several other ancillary investment projects totaling about $80 million, including a $40 million product-inspection center.
The latest $180 million proposed investment is two-fold. Lilly would add a second insulin cartridge-filling line to the overall scope of the previously announced expansion, bringing the total to two insulin-cartridge-filling lines. The second piece of the investment would support Lilly's efforts to increase its insulin-active-ingredient manufacturing capacity. Designed to increase annual insulin output, this effort would help Lilly boost productivity without building a new manufacturing plant or adding to its cost structure, according to a company official.
“Lilly is making significant investments to support our current portfolio of diabetes medicines,” said Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes. "We are also continuing to search for new and better treatment options. We have one of the strongest diabetes pipelines in our history, including four molecules in late-stage development, that could help support the needs of people with diabetes."
Construction supporting the additional insulin-cartridge-filling line could be completed by 2016. During the construction period, construction-trade staffing would average about 100, with peak employment of approximately 140 workers at the site, notes a Lilly spokesperson.
Construction work in the insulin-active-ingredient production area could be completed by December and operational by March 2014. Lilly anticipates that construction worker numbers would average around 70 and peak at around 160 during the proposed project. This portion of the investment would enable Lilly to increase its annual output of insulin active ingredient—the medicine that goes into the vials and cartridges that patients use.
Once operational, approximately 175 full-time, highly skilled, specialized technicians, scientists, and engineers would be needed to manage operations in the cartridge-filling and insulin-active-ingredient manufacturing areas.
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