Massive $1.5B investment in manufacturing widens Eli Lilly's footprint in Ireland and North Carolina
What do North Carolina and Ireland have in common? A tradition of friendly people, a deep appreciation of breweries, and now, new Eli Lilly manufacturing sites, set to hire 900 people.
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly will pump almost $1.5 billion into the two new manufacturing facilities, the company announced on Friday. The short-term focus of these plants will be to bolster diabetes and cancer products, while the sites will take on Alzheimer’s and obesity medications in the long run.
In Limerick, Ireland, a $446 million investment will expand the active pharmaceutical ingredient and monoclonal antibody production. In Concord, NC, about 25 miles from Charlotte, a $1 billion project will focus on injectables and medical devices. This means that in the last five years, Lilly has pumped $4 billion into global manufacturing, including $2 billion in the US.
The local governments for both cities have offered tremendous help throughout the process, president of manufacturing Ed Hernandez said in a call with Endpoints News Friday.
Both localities offered tax incentives to grow in their respective regions, though the specifics were not disclosed. This is the second new site to be built in North Carolina in the past two years, as plans for a Research Triangle Park site were announced in 2020. Construction is well along at that site, and the company has already hired about 100 people.
The company has brought 16 new products to market in the last eight years, and it plans to bring another five in the next two years, including the obesity drug tirzepatide and the early Alzheimer’s treatment donanemab.
“It’s a good sign when we need to build new manufacturing facilities, because it means you’re either developing new medications, or the medications that you’ve got out in the market are helping more people, and you need to make more,” Mike Mason, head of Lilly diabetes, said. “For us, it’s a combination of both.”
Roughly 600 people will be hired in North Carolina, and another 300 in Ireland. Both regions have a strong pool of talent, and Lilly has connections with local institutions. In North Carolina, the relationships are with community colleges in the area, as well as NC State and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. In Ireland, that connection is primarily with the University of Limerick.
“Making medicine, it’s a complex business. So we’re hiring engineers, scientists, pharmacists, quality control staff, lab technicians and operators,” Hernandez said. “The fact that we have good relationships with local universities, that’s key in helping us getting the people we need to get.”
It’s another huge get for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been offering incentives for companies to add manufacturing operations in the state over the course of the last year.
“Lilly’s choice brings more good jobs to North Carolina from one of our most important industries,” he said in a statement. “North Carolina has become a premier hub for the world, thanks to our exceptional workforce and commitment to education.”