Lilly fully committed to Indianapolis-based R&D

Keywords Opinion

A recent article [Lilly turns outside Indy, again, to grow its R&D team, Aug. 3 IBJ] outlined Lilly’s plans to grow our research and development presence in both San Diego and Cambridge, Massachusetts. As the article states, building our R&D presence outside of Indianapolis is nothing new for Lilly, as we’ve long recognized the need for external partnerships and R&D collaboration in other regions where biopharmaceutical innovation thrives.

But it’s important to note that while we’ve made important investments elsewhere, Indianapolis will remain Lilly’s global R&D center. Lilly currently employs 4,400 R&D workers in Indianapolis—more than half of our 8,000 R&D employees worldwide. Our Indianapolis researchers today are engaged in cutting-edge science in search of potential breakthroughs against diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than a billion dollars in our Indianapolis R&D facilities, while growing our research staff to support our innovation-based strategy.

All that said, the competition for biopharmaceutical jobs and investment remains fierce. For Indianapolis to maintain and enhance its position as a life-sciences hub—a key driver of our state’s economy—we must continue to focus on building up the larger biosciences ecosystem that underpins the progress we have made thus far. We must encourage collaboration and cooperation among academic researchers and the private sector. We must also nurture startups and bring in the investment dollars required to sustain them. I’m optimistic that the recently launched Indiana Biosciences Research Institute will help to further these ends.


John C. Lechleiter

Eli Lilly and Co. chairman, CEO and president

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