Lilly CEO outlines deal strategy to beef up its pipeline

Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter has been making the rounds with financial journalists over the last few days, stressing that the pharma company will bet its future on a new round of deals with biotechs and the $4 billion to $5 billion it spends on R&D each year. And you can immediately discount any rumors you may hear about a big acquisition.

"We've seen no evidence that the large combined companies are going to be any more innovative than Eli Lilly currently spending between $4 [billion] and $5 billion a year on research and development," the CEO said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Lechleiter has big plans in the field of diagnostic medicine, though he prefers external collaborations over buyouts. But he told a Swiss newspaper on Saturday that Lilly--which announced a deal to buy Alnara at the end of last week--might just engineer a few more acquisitions along the lines of its $6.5 billion acquisition of Imclone.

"We could imagine going for further smaller buys ... in related market areas such as biotechnology, diagnostics or in animal health," Lechleiter said in the interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft.

- read the Wall Street Journal Q&A
- here's the report from Reuters