Eli Lilly Increases San Diego R&D Space by 140%, Staff by 70%
July 23, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company announced today that it is expanding its Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego, Calif, increasing its space by 140 percent and staff by 70 percent.
The company is adding another 175,000 square feet of work space and an additional 130 new jobs. Recruitment is expected in discovery chemistry, research technologies and biotechnology, with a particular focus on immunology and immunological clinical development.
“The molecular discovery capabilities at the Lilly Biotechnology Center represent state of the art platforms to enable pharmaceutical innovation across the continuum of small and large molecules,” said Alan Palkowitz, vice president, discovery chemistry research and technology at Lilly in a statement. “The expanded investment will further Lilly’s leadership in these core areas and catalyze future discoveries.”
Lilly moved into the San Diego area in 2004 when it bought Applied Molecular Evolution, Inc. The Lilly Biotechnology Center was created in 2009 near the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
In June, the Keck School of Medicine at USC established the USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (USC ATRI) in San Diego, close to the Lilly center. The focus is clinical research, intended to strengthen and complement USC’s existing Alzheimer’s research programs.
“The Keck School of Medicine of USC provides an optimal environment for this research program,” said Paul Aisen, founding director of the institute in a USC News article. “Close collaboration with Keck investigators, including Drs. Arthur Toga and Paul Thompson at the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Dr. Helena Chui at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Dr. Berislav Zlokovic at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, will facilitate rapid progress in data sharing and analytical methods central to the drug development process. USC ATRI will be the clinical outlet for testing of new treatments.”
Lilly is making significant efforts in the Alzheimer’s market, which is likely to develop synergies with the clinical research efforts in the San Diego area. The company recently announced the clinical trial results of solanezumab in Alzheimer’s patients and presented the data this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
Solanezumab has shown some promise in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. The company recently conducted a delayed start study, in which the original 1,322 patients in the first study were allowed to participate in a study extension in which they received the drug whether they had received it or the placebo in the original study. They were then followed for three-and-a-half years. The study, which was an original take on what is usually a safety procedure, further suggested that the drug slowed the symptoms of the disease.
In 2013, Lilly awarded UC San Diego a $76.6 million grant to assist in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. The company has also announced a partnership in May 2015 with the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla to study lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.
“Lilly has already been a great partner of the academic institutions in La Jolla, and we are excited about expanding those interactions,” said Gary Firestein, University of California San Diego’s associate vice chancellor of translational medicine to The San Diego Union-Tribune “The collaborations have been a great two-say street between the public and private sector, benefiting the science and our patients.”