Eli Lilly’s incretin products Trulicity and Mounjaro are two of their best-selling medications for type 2 diabetes. Trulicity (dulaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist and is administered once-weekly by subcutaneous injection. Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is the first and only approved once-weekly glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 receptor agonist.
Trulicity has brought Eli Lilly $5.5 billion in sales for the first three quarters of 2022, but Eli Lilly and investors anticipate that their newly approved drug Mounjaro will fuel future growth.
Due to the high demand for Trulicity and Mounjaro, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added both to its drug shortage list in December 2022.
As a result, Eli Lilly will invest an additional $450 million and create at least 100 new jobs to increase the production of both medicines in its Research Triangle Park facility in North Carolina.
“As we move into 2023, Lilly is focused on finding innovative solutions to meet the growing demand for our medicines,” said Edgardo Hernandez, executive vice president and president of Lilly Manufacturing Operations, in the company’s press release.
“Expanding our operations at Research Triangle Park will accelerate the rate at which we can produce medicines that patients rely on to address serious health challenges like diabetes. We’re on track to achieve the goal we shared in November 2022 of doubling incretin capacity by the end of this year , but this investment is key to ensuring even more patients will have access to medicines they need in the future,” added Hernandez.
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Why is There a Shortage of Trulicity and Mounjaro?
As the number of individuals with diabetes and obesity increases, so does the demand for new, safe and effective medicines to treat these conditions. Trulicity and Mounjaro are in short supply because of very high demand, supply shortages and restrictions on who is allowed to use these medications. As a result, Eli Lilly, as well as other pharma giants, have jumped to fund increased production of their diabetes-treating drugs.
Eli Lilly’s Investments in Research Triangle Park Site
Since 2020, Eli Lilly has invested approximately $4 billion in its manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, including around $1.7 billion for the development and expansion of its site in Research Triangle Park. Eli Lilly expects that initial production at Research Triangle Park will begin this year, and the company’s preparations for FDA inspections at this site are ongoing.
Eli Lilly expects that its manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park will be fully operational in 2027.
“When companies already in North Carolina choose to expand here, it reaffirms our status as the best state to do business,” said Governor Roy Cooper in Eli Lilly’s press release. “Our strong communities and our dedicated, well-trained workforce will help Lilly continue to succeed.”
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