Lilly injects another $5.3bn in Indiana plant to up tirzepatide production

Eli Lilly has committed an additional $5.3 billion to bolster capacity to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for its tirzepatide products, Zepbound and Mounjaro.

Millie Nelson, Editor

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read

Eli Lilly and Company has already committed $3.7 billion to expand API capacity at its LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone Country, Indiana. Now, the firm will more than double its investment, growing the company’s total expenditure to $9 billion.

Lilly said the expansion will enable the firm to manufacture tirzepatide to meet the demand for obesity and type 2 diabetes drugs Zepbound and Mounjaro. The firm expects to start producing medicines in Lebanon towards the end of 2026 and aims to scale up operations through 2028.

"Today's announcement tops the largest manufacturing investment in our company's history and, we believe, represents the single largest investment in synthetic medicine API manufacturing in US history," said David Ricks, Lilly's chair and CEO.

"This multi-site campus will make our latest medicines, including Zepbound and Mounjaro, support pipeline growth and leverage the latest technology and automation for maximum efficiency, safety and quality control. Importantly, we are investing in our home state of Indiana, creating high-wage, advanced manufacturing, engineering and science jobs for hundreds of current and future Hoosier families."

The site is anticipated to create 200 full-time jobs for workers such as scientists, lab technicians, engineers, and operating personnel, bringing the total headcount to around 900. With the demand for glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs significantly increasing, Lilly has been making a string of investments to up its internal capacity.

In 2020, Lilly forked out $470 million to construct an injectable drug manufacturing plant in Durham County, North Carolina. Two years later, the company pledged $2.1 billion to build two API facilities in Indiana. The firm also made an investment of $2.5 billion at a site in Rhineland-Palatinate (close to the French border in Germany) in November last year. And, in April, the firm acquired an injectable manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, from Nexus Pharmaceuticals.

Lilly’s ramped up investments come as rival weight-loss drugmaker Novo Nordisk has made substantial investments in its inhouse capacity, as well as its investment arm Novo Holding’s $16.5 billion acquisition of contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Catalent.

Through the acquisition, Novo Nordisk is primed to secure three fill/finish facilities for $11 billion, which led to concerns from Lilly as it has its own GLP-1 fill/finish contracts in place with Catalent.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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