Lilly CEO bullish on momentum in 2023
This year is slated to be a big one for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) as the pharmaceutical giant plans to release four new medicines to the public, with even more in the pipeline. Lilly is also moving forward with its plans to anchor the LEAP Lebanon Innovation District in Boone County with a $2.1 billion manufacturing campus that could create up to 500 jobs.
CEO Dave Ricks told Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick the momentum was created by tailwinds in 2022 and earlier.
“In our business, it’s all about what you invented lately, and can it grow and drive the top line? And we’re in a privileged position in that way, because we have been very successful in last five or six years launching new medicines,” Ricks said. “And we are poised…to launch four more in the next 12 months, having just launched maybe one of the most important products in our history called Mounjaro for diabetes just late last year.”
Lilly’s pipeline of medicines covers a variety of conditions, including leukemia, diabetes, psoriasis, asthma and obesity.
Ricks said in addition to investing in drug development efforts, Lilly is also investing in manufacturing in a way the company hasn’t done before. Lilly has five new sites in the works, including two in the LEAP district.
The company earlier this month told the Lebanon Planning Commission it has plans for a total of 12 buildings on its 600-acre campus, ranging from a 3,200-square-foot visitors center to the two, three-story, 330,000-square-foot manufacturing facilities.
“One of those will be really an active pharmaceutical ingredient production site for protein therapeutics and some of our newer technologies using RNA to make medicines. That will be the bigger part of it,” he said. “In addition, we’ll also have a biotechnology site there really focused on gene therapy production. This site will be really adjacent to the whole LEAP project, which we’re excited about – the idea of forming a production cluster.”
Just last week, Lilly announced a $450 million investment to expand its presence at the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina that will allow for the filling of injectable drugs, device assembly and packaging capacity to support an increased demand for Lilly’s incretin products that treat diabetes.
That announcement came just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected Lilly’s application for accelerated approval of its experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, donanemab.
Ricks said he was disappointed, but not shocked at the FDA’s decision.
“In our case, they cited one particular issue, which is we didn’t have very many people who had experienced the drug for more than 12 months,” Ricks said. “We see that as a feature, not a bug. Unlike other approaches to Alzheimer’s treatment, you would only take [until] your plaque in your brain is clear. So many patients had that plaque cleared as early as six months; we didn’t have the same exposure rate we would normally have for a drug like this. That said, there’s a much larger study going on now. It’s about to wrap up in the first half of this year, and that’ll form the basis of the full submission.”
He said the company hopes the FDA’s rejection is just a “blip on the way to a very successful product.”
Ricks also discussed several bills being considered by the Indiana General Assembly this year related to the cost of healthcare. You can watch the full interview in the video above.