Lilly seeking $23.8M tax break to expand diabetes research, production

Eli Lilly and Co. (IBJ photo)

Eli Lilly and Co. is seeking a tax break from Indianapolis worth $23.8 million in exchange for investing nearly $300 million at its technology center south of downtown.

The project will support growing demand for its diabetes products, creating about 100 new jobs, the company says.

The drugmaker, which has about 11,000 employees at its Indianapolis headquarters, technology center and other sites, is one of the city’s largest employers, and has been spending heavily on manufacturing and research here in recent years.

Since 2012, the company has invested about $990 million locally on plants, laboratories, and equipment. It says the investments have created 300 manufacturing jobs and supported about 400 temporary construction jobs.

But Lilly has not been shy about asking for tax breaks during that time. In 2013, the city approved a 10-year tax break worth $30.6 million in exchange for $400 million in new facilities and technology upgrades for insulin production. In 2017, the city approved a three-year tax break worth $9.3 million for $159 million worth of projects, again to boost insulin production.

In its latest request, Lilly is breaking down its planned investment into three parts.

In the first phase, it plans to spend $100 million to renovate 5,000 square feet of existing space and expand an existing building by 16,300 square feet.

In the second phase, it plans to spend $70 million to renovate 30,000 square feet of existing space for diabetes manufacturing and packaging.

In the third phase, it plans to spend $112 million to renovate 85,580 square feet of existing space for its syringe-filling production.

In a PowerPoint presentation to the Metropolitan Development Committee this month, Lilly said the investments will allow it to meet the growing diabetes demand worldwide. The company is one of the world’s largest makers of diabetes products and has a wide portfolio of insulins and other diabetes medications.

Nearly 11% of Americans have diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As we continue to make investments in our manufacturing facilities, the willingness to support our local investments will keep Indianapolis as a major manufacturing location for Lilly,” a PowerPoint slide said.

Lilly did not have an immediate comment in response to IBJ questions on whether the company would make the investment without the tax abatement.

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