Lilly Italia is the subsidiary of the American multinational Eli Lilly and Company since 1876, one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.
The headquarters is located in Indianapolis, including a research and development centre, a manufacturing site and a distribution centre which exports medicines to all parts of the world.
Lilly Italia in 2008 won the award Best place to work for the sixth consecutive year .
The Italian headquarters and the factory are located in Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), the second location is in Rome. The Italian activities began about 50 years ago. Currently, Lilly Italy covers an area of 43,000 square meters, employs over 1,000 employees and achieves a steady increase in its scientific, productive and financial results. According to the latest bulletin published by the National Clinical Trial, Lilly has been at the forefront for the number of clinical studies and for the ratio between clinical trials and total turnover .
In Sesto Fiorentino the largest plant for the production of biotech drugs in Italy has been completed .. It will be particularly focused on the production of insulin derived from recombinant DNA for the European and extra European countries.
Why did you choose Italy for your expansion and why you decided to invest in Tuscany ?
Tuscany was chosen by the founder of Eli Lilly Italia SpA in 1969. Raymond Basso was an Italian-American whose American wife was happily living in Fiesole. In reality Italy, 50 years ago was a promising market, and remains so today.
A mix of internal and external elements came together in our decision to set up in Italy: a large domestic market, a fact noted also by our Headquarters in Indianapolis, the creation of support bodies for pharmaceuticals, such as AIFA (the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency) a body totally dedicated to the evaluation and assessment of medicines, and their entry into the country is a clear sign of support from the government to our industry. And this is only one example.
Did you consider alternative locations to Italy ? If so, which and why ?
There was a previous factory here in Italy, for the manufacture of antibiotics, so we had experience about the quality of the people and the suitability of the location for our business. There is always competition for manufacturing sites in addition to supplying much-needed medicines to patients, these investments also create many jobs, with people who work for and with the company. When we made the decision to make an additional investment in Italy for the creation of this new factory it was based on the 47 years of experience that we had in Italy and now we are celebrating our 50th birthday here, it is a great moment in to open the facility.
What kind of support did you receive of the Italian institutions during the various steps of the investment process ?
We have received support from the government and from institutions at all levels (National, Regional and Local) for all investments made to date in Italy. All parts of the government worked together in an integrated fashion to provide us with the answers and the support that we needed as a company. The government has changed since we started investing in the new factory, but the support we have received has not; we have a long-term bipartisan partnership, that is crucial to our success. The regional government in Tuscany, where we are headquartered, recently has implemented a number of specific initiatives in the area of research and education to support the pharma sector. Companies that make foreign direct investments, such as Lilly, truly recognize and appreciate these efforts.
What is the destination market of Eli Lilly ?
Lilly is a worldwide company, present in over 140 countries worldwide. From our Italian manufacturing base we support markets worldwide, except for US and Japan.
What are the main advantages of the new plant ? Why did you decide to focus in particular on insulin production ?
The World Health Authority made an appeal to pharmaceutical companies to produce insulin. As was recently noted by the International Diabetes Foundation, with whom we are partner for various initiatives, 2/3rds of people in the world that need insulin do not have regular access to it. It was partly in response to this request that production in the new factory will start with insulin. Lilly has the longest history in insulin amongst any of the pharmaceutical companies its in our DNA. In 1923 we were the first company to make insulin commercially available, and in 1982 introduced the first human insulin actually the first medicine ever made with DNA technology worldwide. With the new structure, recently announced, we will be focusing even more on diabetes in the future.
What are the advantages and/or opportunities that the Italian market can offer your industry in the coming years ? What are your perspectives for future growth in Italy ?
Italy is the worlds 5th largest pharmaceutical market, and as such represents an important base for Lilly globally. A healthcare environment of this size can benefit a great deal from the presence of innovation-based pharmaceutical companies such as ours. Innovative pharmaceutical products drive ever greater levels of healthcare, and as such support needs to be given to the companies that develop and produce these medicines. In Italy we have this support. At Lilly we have found the right people to work with us, an approach to innovation that is wide-reaching and touches all areas of our business, support from the government and authorities at all levels, and a recognition of the value that we and companies like ours can bring to Italy. An investment in high-tech manufacturing is a medium to long-term investment, and with the recent announcement of the 2nd production line, it is clear that Lilly is looking to Italy to be an important part of the companys future. Obviously we believe that the conditions that we have found thus far, will continue to be present in the future, and help us to continue to succeed in this market.
How do you respond to the world economic situation ?
The current economic context is challenging for companies in all industries, in all parts of the world, Pharmaceuticals is no exception to this. At Lilly we have recently announced a new corporate structure that will enable us to continue to invest in our current areas of strength and, simultaneously, to have an improved focus on the critical areas of our business. This new structure will include renewed focus on the areas of diabetes, and oncology, as well as established and emerging markets and our Elanco animal health business. This structure will allow us to be ever more responsive to the needs of our clients and their patients.
We have also created a global development centre, unique in our sector, to ensure that we can accelerate the development of the numerous molecules in our current pipeline.
Investments such as those made in our biotech manufacturing facility in Sesto Fiorentino in Italy (an investment of 250 million, plus an additional 60 million announced on Friday 25th September) enable us to make the most of the combination of a highly-skilled workforce, and the latest technology, to ensure that we are manufacturing insulins in an efficient way, for global use. 90% of the insulins produced in Italy will be for export.
These changes have been designed to ensure that Lilly is able to continue improving outcomes for patients also in the future.