Lilly to pump $1.2bn into its biomanufacturing in 2018

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Eli Lilly has projected an increased spend across its biomanufacturing network next year to support bulk production and fill/finish of monoclonal antibodies.

The US-headquartered Big Biopharma firm declared its 2018 guidance this week with incoming CFO Josh Smiley telling investors capital expenditure is expected to be roughly $1.2bn (€1bn) – a “modest increase over 2017”​ to support large molecule manufacturing.

Lilly spokesperson Tamara Ann Hull confirmed the figure, telling Biopharma-Reporter “the modest increase in capital expenditures from 2017 to 2018 is driven by projects to expand production both bulk and fill/finish capacity of monoclonal antibodies.”

For this year, Lilly estimated​ CAPEX of around $1bn, including $850m of investment in its US network announced by CEO Dave Ricks in March​ as part of a patriotic appeal to Congress to scrap tax paid by American companies on overseas income.

The firm also confirmed plans to build a three-story biomanufacturing facility at its site in Kinsale, Ireland in May​ adding 130 operations and technical support staff by 2020.

Media reports in February suggested the investment – the size of which has not been disclosed – had been put on hold ahead of proposed changes to US tax laws, though a Lilly spokesperson told this publication at the time​ that this was not the case.

The biomanufacturing network was also spared the axe in September​ when the firm unveiled a restructuring plan hoping to save around $500m a year through reduced fixed costs and the loss of 3,500 jobs – around 9% of Lilly’s global workforce.

Hull did not reveal which sites would benefit from the planned expenditure.

According to Lilly’s annual report, principal active ingredient manufacturing occurs at its own sites in US, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the UK, with formulation, filling, assembling, delivery device manufacturing, and packaging taking place at a number of sites throughout the world. The firm did not differentiate between its small and large molecule network.

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