Eli Lilly weighs in with $2.5bn injectables plant in Germany

In the same week Novo Nordisk pledged $6 billion to expand Wegovy production in Denmark, Eli Lilly is planning to build a European facility to support its diabetes and obesity products.  

Pharma giant Eli Lilly confirmed rumors circulating this week that it is set to construct a drug production plant in Rhineland-Palatinate, close to the French border in Germany. 

When it opens – expected 2027 – the $2.5 billion injectable and device manufacturing site in Alzey will support the firm’s diabetes and weight-loss portfolio. 

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“Every investment into our manufacturing capacity around the world is a renewed commitment to patients today – and to those who may need our medicines tomorrow,” said Edgardo Hernandez, executive vice president and president, Lilly manufacturing operations. 

“This state-of-the-art parenteral site with the latest technology will enable us to continue to deliver medicines with safety first and quality always around the world.” 

The construction project is expected to feed increasing demand for Lilly’s once-weekly type 2 diabetes medication Mounjaro (tirzepatide). The drug has also recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the name Zepbound for chronic weight management. 

A recent report by data analytics company GlobalData claimed the newly approved medication could bring in $4.1 billion by 2031 in the US. Additionally, the firm cited this is around 50% less of what Novo Nordisk’s weight loss therapy Wegovy (semaglutide) could make by that year.  

Lilly has previously upped its capacity to ensure Mounjaro supply. In December 2022, the firm said it was prepping for global demand by monitoring US uptake to determine the appropriate timing for launches across other geographies. Furthermore, through capital expenditure projects, Lilly says it is not expecting any supply constraints.  

Furthermore, in February Lilly said it expects to double incretin capacity by the end of this year to drive the launch of Mounjaro beyond the US.