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Eli Lilly To Make Four New Drugs In Carolina

More employees could be hired if drugs sell well; Mayaguez plant to get $50 million investment over next 36 months

by Daniel R. Garza

May 11, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Lilly del Caribe Inc. will manufacture four new drugs at its plants in Carolina, including treatments for attention deficity disorder (ADD), diabetes, and an improved version of Prozac.

The production of R-Flmuoxetne, an improved formula of anti-depressant Prozac, will likely begin by the end of the year, company spokesperson Ileana Rivera told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.

The Carolina plants will begin production of ADD drug Tomoxotene and PKC, a medication to treat complications related to diabetes, next year. Rivera said it was too early to release the name of the fourth drug.

"The drugs are undergoing clinical trials," she said. "If they’re successful, we will hire more employees.It all depends on the success of these drugs in the market."

Eli Lilly employs nearly 1000 employees at three plants in Carolina and one in Mayaguez.

The company is selling one of its plants, an antibiotics manufacturing facility, in Carolina to locally owned contract manufacturer Mova Pharmaceutical Inc. Some of the 200 employees working at the plant will be offered jobs with Mova. The remainder will be offered jobs at other plants over the next three to four years.

The decision to move the production of antibiotics is based on changes in the global antibiotics market, not on the capacity or competitiveness of the local operation, the company said in a statement last week.

Lilly’s Carolina plants make Prozac, Evista, Zyprexa, Ceclor, Lorabed, and Keflex. The Mayaguez biochemical plant makes Tobramycen and Uvanco, active ingredients for drugs made outside the island, Rivera said.

During the past three years, Lilly has invested $30 million in buildings and machinery at the Carolina plants and expects to invest $50 million in the Mayaguez plant, also on buildings and machinery over the next three years, Rivera said.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved Eli Lilly’s deal to license a new and improved version of Prozac. In a licensing agreement with Malborough,

Mass-based Sepracor Inc., Eli Lilly paid more than $90 million sales royalties for the right to sell a modified form of Prozac.

If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the new version, the company might be allowed to retain its franchise on the nation’s most popular antidepressant, even if generic versions hit the market when the drug’s main patent expires in 2003.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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