As Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) celebrates its 140th anniversary, Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter says "the best is yet to come." The company was established by Colonel Eli Lilly on Pearl Street in downtown Indianapolis in 1876. It has grown to include some 41,000 workers producing and marketing pharmaceuticals in 120 countries. In a corporate video marking the milestone, Lechleiter says the company continues to follow the advice of its founder: "Take what you find here and make it better and better."
The company began with three other employees, one of which was his 14-year-old son. In its most recent monthly earnings filing, Eli Lilly and Co. reported worldwide revenues of nearly $4.9 billion.
Colonel Lilly started the company as a 38 year-old pharmaceutical chemist after he returned from Civil War. The company says Lilly was frustrated by poorly prepared and often ineffective medicines at the time, which eventually led his company to become one of the first to initiate a dedicated pharmaceutical research program.
Through the years, the company’s breakthroughs include creating the world’s first commercially-available insulin product, Iletin, in the early-1920s. It also mass produced liver therapies, penicillin, the powerful antibiotic vancomycin to treat serious hospital infections, Humulin synthetic insulin, which is identical to what the body produces and other well-known blockbusters like Prozac, Zyprexa, Humalog, Cialis and Cymbalta.
You can connect to more through an interactive timeline released by the company.