Lilly Invests Another $5.3B in Indiana Plant to Boost Tirzepatide Manufacturing

Eli Lilly_iStock, jetcityimage

Pictured: Eli Lilly's headquarters in Indianapolis/iStock, jetcityimage

Eli Lilly announced Friday that it is investing an additional $5.3 billion in its manufacturing site in Indiana to boost the capacity for producing tirzepatide, the active ingredient for the blockbuster drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound. 

Lilly said the funds will more than double its investment in a production site in Lebanon, Indiana. The pharma giant was initially going to invest $3.7 billion in April, but Lilly’s latest announcement will now bring the total to $9 billion. The investment aims to enhance the company’s capacity to manufacture the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for the wildly popular Mounjaro and Zepbound medications. 

“Today’s announcement tops the largest manufacturing investment in our company’s history and, we believe, represents the single largest investment in synthetic medicine API manufacturing in U.S. history,” said Lilly CEO David Ricks in a statement. “This multi-site campus will make our latest medicines, including Zepbound and Mounjaro, support pipeline growth and leverage the latest technology and automation for maximum efficiency, safety and quality control.” 

The Lebanon site plans to add around 200 jobs, mainly in engineering, operating personnel and lab technicians, bringing the total headcount to an estimated 900. Lilly also anticipates that over 5,000 construction jobs will be needed during the development. The investment comes as Mounjaro and Zepbound continue to be in short supply as the drugs are in high demand, according to the FDA’s drug shortage database.

To help address these shortages, Lilly has been making significant investments in its manufacturing infrastructure, including a $2.5 billion investment in a site in Alzey, Germany. The company also made a $1.2 billion upgrade to its facilities in Indianapolis and acquired an injectable manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., for a total investment of more than $18 billion.

In February 2024, during Lilly’s fourth quarter earnings call, the company noted that it was seeking to ramp up investments in manufacturing. Rival weight-loss drugmaker Novo Nordisk has also been making significant investments in production, notably a $16.5 billion buy of contract manufacturer Catalent with three sites transferred to the pharma to bolster its GLP-1 output. 

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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