Eli Lilly reveals drug delivery, device innovation center to be based in Cambridge

Lilly Research Laboratories President Jan Lundberg

Eli Lilly ($LLY) will open a new drug delivery and device innovation center in Cambridge, MA. Medical devices aren't a focus for the pharma now--but it noted that more than half of its current pipeline candidates are biologics that require injection. It expects to double its revenues from device-enabled products by 2020 and is looking to have a hand in that arena.

Construction is starting immediately on the Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center, as it will be known, and the first occupancy is expected by yearend. When it's up and running, the center will increase Lilly's drug delivery and device R&D space by almost 50% and its dedicated staff by about 25%.

"New drug delivery and device innovation is critically important to Lilly's growing portfolio of potential medicines, particularly in our focus areas of diabetes, neurodegeneration, immunology and pain," said Jan Lundberg, EVP of science and technology and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.

"The best therapies of the future will marry breakthrough scientific discovery with customer-friendly devices. That's what will make life better for people who need our medicines and give Lilly a true competitive edge," he added.

The company expects to hire about 30 scientists and engineers for the center over the next two years. The Cambridge facility will work in conjunction with Lilly's existing research facilities in San Diego, CA, and New York, NY.

Eli Lilly currently markets at least a dozen injectable medicines, most of which are diabetes drugs that include its top-seller Humalog for which it sells injection pen devices to increase convenience for patients.

The pharma will hold a conference call on June 7 at the American Diabetes Association conference in Boston, MA, specifically to update investors on its diabetes strategy.

Eli Lilly has at least three diabetes candidates under regulatory review or in late-stage development, with another two in Phase II and 7 in Phase I, according to its latest published pipeline.

"In diabetes today, we're number four behind Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Merck, but we have the opportunity over a couple of years to launch up to four NMEs that treat diabetes which would be unprecedented," Lilly Chairman, President and CEO John Lechleiter said at a January corporate strategy meeting.

"This will enable Lilly to offer a more complete range of medicines than any of our competitors, from oral drugs to insulins. Notably, our novel basal insulin and our insulin glargine product fill a significant and longstanding void in our insulin portfolio," he added.

- here is the release