Lilly to invest another $1.6B in Boone County site, add 200 jobs
Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) said Monday it will invest an additional $1.6 billion in a new drug manufacturing site in Boone County that it rolled out last year at an initial price tag of $2.1 billion, bringing the total amount to $3.7 billion, the most the company has ever spent on a single manufacturing site.
The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said the expanded manufacturing capacity would create 200 more jobs at the site, bringing the total to 700 jobs.
Lilly said the huge expansion is needed to keep up with expected growing demand for its pharmaceutical products over the next decade. The company plans to launch four significant new drugs this year for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic kidney disease, dermatitis and other diseases, and has a pipeline of more than a dozen other drugs in development.
The announcement came as company and public officials gathered to break ground on the new Lilly complex, a 13-building site totaling more than 1.6 million square feet.
The plant will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for making active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, such as genetic medicines, seen as a promising way to deliver treatments for a wide range of diseases.
“Our plans were to initially install one production line,” Edgardo Hernandez, Lilly executive vice president and president of manufacturing operations, told IBJ. “In many of these buildings, we’re going to be installing two production lines now. … Basically, you can say we’re doubling the capacity that we’re installing in some of the platforms.”
The pharmaceutical giant will serve as the anchor tenant of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s LEAP District, a planned 11,000-acre advanced manufacturing and tech hub in Boone County. LEAP is an acronym for “Limited Exploration/Advanced Pace.”
LEAP was created to attract companies with high-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing, and to act as a mixed-use district for live, work and play.
“With Lilly’s investment and the creation of 700 high-paying jobs, I think the LEAP vision has quickly become a reality,” said David Rosenberg, IEDC’s chief operating officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Lilly’s expanded plans represent the largest single deal the IEDC has landed with incentives. The next largest was a $2.5 billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Kokomo, announced last May as a joint venture between Dutch automaker Stellantis N.V. and Korean battery company Samsung SDI. That plant is expected to open in 2025 and create up to 1,400 jobs.
In return for the extra investment and promise of 200 more jobs, the IEDC is committing up to more than $17 million in redevelopment tax credits and $4.5 million to Lilly in the form of incentive-based training grants, Rosenberg said.
To help it secure workers at the plant, Lilly also said it is committing $15 million worth of full-tuition scholarships to Ivy Tech Community College for students in the pharmaceutical manufacturing program.
The scholarship program is a continuation of a program rolled out last fall for between 75 and 100 students each year for 10 years at Purdue University. The program, worth up to $42.5 million, is designed to give priority to undergraduate students who are underrepresented in Purdue’s student population, have overcome socioeconomic or educational disadvantages or are among the first generation in their family to attend college.
Lilly employs more than 36,000 people worldwide, including more than 10,400 in Indiana. The company said that, once it finalizes location plans and begins construction, it will hire workers in various roles to support the operations of the two new sites.
The state said it sees the Boone County site as important for development due to its position between Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette, as well as its proximity to Interstate 65. It was just last May that the company said it would invest $2.1 billion at the Lebanon site.
Since 2014, Lilly has launched about 19 mew medicines, and has a pipeline full of additional potential products.
“We go through a review cycle every year, on what new products are coming on and how our commercial products are performing,” Hernandez said. “And when we look at the demand needed, we discovered we need more capacity. So we decided to double down on the investment that we were doing and expand our footprint (in Boone County).”
Officials scheduled to be at Monday’s groundbreaking included Lilly CEO David Ricks, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry
Gentry has called the project the largest investment in Boone County ever, and one that will transform the community. Lebanon has already annexed more than 6,600 acres for the LEAP site.
Drug analysts say Lilly has one of the most promising pipelines of new products in the industry, with five drugs awaiting regulatory review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with more than 20 additional drugs in late-stage clinical trials.
Lilly officials said they considered other states for the investment before deciding on Indiana.
“We always look at other states, other geographies,” Hernandez said.
He said Indiana was attractive because the Hoosier state encourages innovation, is a “great place to access talent” and is the drugmaker’s home state. Lilly was founded in Indianapolis in 1876 as a drugstore and has grown to become the nation’s largest pharmaceutical company as measured by market value, eclipsing Pfizer, Merck, AbbVie and other drugmakers.
Lilly’s expanded announcement comes about a year after it said it would invest $1.7 billion in two projects in Boston and North Carolina, raising a ripple of consternation here that Indiana that the Hoosier state was being left behind.
Lilly announced in January 2022 it planned to invest more than $1 billion to develop a new manufacturing plant in Research Triangle Park near Concord, North Carolina, that will create nearly 600 jobs. A month later, it said it would spend $700 million to build an institute focused on genetic medicine in Boston’s Seaport.
The drugmaker also recently announced plans to invest $500 million in a new biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Limerick, Ireland. And in 2020, Lilly reported a separate $470 million investment in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.
The buildings at Lilly’s Boone County site will include uses ranging from administrative offices, lab space, manufacturing, utilities, warehousing and a fire station. The planned facility areas would take up about 200 to 300 acres, leaving room for possible future additions to the Lilly site, along with landscaping, open space and buffer areas.
The Lilly campus would be bounded to the north by County Road 450 North, to the west by Interstate 65 and to the east by the CSX railroad tracks. The campus’ southern border would be north of County Road 300 North, which would connect to Witt Road, and County Road 375 North.
Lilly said it hopes for the site to be operational by 2026 or 2027.