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Lilly invests $700m in insulin manufacturing

Expands plants in Puerto Rico, France, China and US

Eli Lilly HQ

Lilly is to invest $700m to expand its insulin manufacturing capabilities across the world to address rising numbers of people with diabetes.

The pharma company, which manufactures the Humalog family of insulins, will expand operations in Puerto Rico, France and China, as well as its hometown of Indianapolis in the US.

The investment adds to a previous commitment of $180m for Lilly’s US operations, bringing the company’s total investment in insulin manufacturing during 2013 to just under $1bn.

Lilly is counting on the increasing global prevalence of diabetes driving demand for insulin, which is used to reduce blood sugar levels in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

This predicted increase in diabetes levels was confirmed yesterday on World Diabetes Day by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), which published a revised Diabetes Atlas that forecasts that the number of people living with diabetes will increase from 382 million to 592 million by 2035.

One of the worst hit countries is set to be China, due in part to the influx of Western diets and more sedentary lifestyles.

Of the $700m funding, Lilly’s China operations will receive $350m to expand insulin cartridge manufacturing capacity, adding to the recent opening of the Lilly China Research and Development Center in Shanghai last year.

Jacques Tapiero, senior VP and president of Lilly Emerging Markets, said: “Our ongoing investment in China will help Lilly bring medicines to the country with the largest population of people with diabetes - and which is projected to rise to more than 142 million by 2035."

Outside China the company has earmarked $245m to expand insulin-active-ingredient and delivery device manufacturing capacity in both Indianapolis and Puerto Rico and some $100m to enhance its insulin cartridge manufacturing capacity in France.

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