Elanco Animal Health Chief Executive Officer Jeff Simmons says the company’s planned $300 million investment to create its global hub in Indiana is the next logical step in what has been a significant transformation of the one-time unit of Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE: LLY). As an independent, publicly traded company, Elanco is now more than four times larger, with its $7 billion acquisition of Bayer Animal Health creating the world’s second-largest animal health company.

Simmons says growth and the realities of a post-pandemic world were among drivers of the decision to build a 45-acre campus in downtown Indianapolis at the former GM Stamping Plant site.

“The complexity of this really made us look at a campus of the future, one that ideates, that collaborates, that creates innovation,” said Simmons, adding the company is thinking big about its new home. “It has to be a destination…ultimately, our bigger vision on the west side of that river in Indianapolis, on this campus we want to create an epicenter.”

Simmons talked about the Elanco transformation and his vision for the company on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.

Simmons says the investment, which includes manufacturing operations in Clinton, Terre Haute and Indianapolis, will explore new capabilities including “artificial intelligence, the microbiome as well as the digital ability to reach and be the bridge to over 100 countries.”  

Elanco’s new Indy campus, which will include at least 25% less office space than its current headquarters in Greenfield, reflects the results of a post-COVID work study that showed 70% of Elanco’s employees don’t expect to be in the office every day.

“The floodgates are open on talent,” said Simmons. “With a more virtual world but a great destination like Indianapolis, you can attract talent, we believe, at another level. This brings big opportunities to bring another level of talent into Elanco as well as into Indiana.”