Lilly to open San Diego biotech center

Continuing its plan to redesign itself as a biotech, Lilly announced that it's establishing an environmentally-friendly, 200-person biotech facility in San Diego. The facility combines Lilly subsidiary Applied Molecular Evolution with a division that includes scientists from what was previously known as SGX Pharmaceuticals, a company Lilly acquired in 2008. AME discovers, engineers and develops biotechnology-based therapies built specifically from human proteins. Scientists at the new center--which will be known as "Lilly Biotechnology Center - San Diego,"--will focus on discovering, engineering and conducting Phase I and II clinical trials on potential biologic medicines, with a particular emphasis on cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.

This is just one of several recent moves the drugmaker has made to boost its biotech work. Lilly recently moved ImClone research operations to a biotechcluster in New York, and last year completed construction of a biotech R&D center at its worldwide headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"We are moving full speed ahead toward building a biotechnology powerhouse," said John Lechleiter, Lilly's CEO. "The science, technology and talent at our new center in San Diego will help bring novel biotech medicines to patients faster and more efficiently, and reinforces Lilly's commitment and contributions to San Diego's burgeoning bioscience industry." Steve Paul, M.D., executive vice president, science and technology, and president, Lilly Research Laboratories, added that over 50 percent of their mid to late-stage pipeline now consisting of biologics-potential medicines.

- check out Lilly's release