May 25, 2022

Lilly’s $2.1B investment in Boone Co. will anchor innovation and research district

Eli Lilly and Co. Chair and CEO Dave Ricks announced in late May that Lilly is investing $2.1 billion to build two manufacturing facilities in Boone County. The investment represents the first major expenditure the company has made in Indiana outside of its corporate headquarters since the 1980s.

The district is part of a Boone County mega-site identified by Indiana Economic Development Corp. as a strategic location for development and growth because of its proximity to research centers in Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette.

“For nearly 150 years, Lilly’s operations in Indiana and our continued commitments in the state have enabled us to develop and deliver innovative and life-changing medicines for patients,” Lilly CEO David Ricks said. “This investment furthers our commitment to Indiana while also fulfilling our purpose of making life better for millions of people.”

Lilly is likely to be the first company to establish operations in LEAP Lebanon, which stands for Limitless Exploration/Advanced Pace and is adjacent to the heavily traveled Interstate 65 corridor. As companies continue to fill out the mega-site, I-65 will soon become the nation’s premiere “hard tech” corridor.

“Lilly’s $2.1 billion investment represents just the kind of investment we’re aiming for with LEAP,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “One of the goals of LEAP is to attract a well-educated, skilled and creative workforce in order to create more opportunities for the local community and to foster greater economic prosperity—Lilly’s presence in the area will do just that. Lilly has been a steadfast presence in the state for years, and this investment only deepens their commitment to the state.”

The investment is expected to support up to 500 permanent positions and will give Lilly one million square feet to experiment with active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities. This will allow Lilly to continue to pioneer in the growing field of genetics and save lives.

The Lilly investment kickstarts a major economic development initiative in Boone County, where the state could acquire land that state leaders believe will help Indiana compete globally for high-wage careers in high-tech industries.

IEDC Executive Vice President David Rosenberg compared the state’s plans for Boone County to the North Carolina Research Triangle.

“These types of developments take years of planning,” said Rosenberg. It’s a long-range approach in line with IEDC’s vision of attracting investment from industries that are very much future-focused. It’s a quality over quantity approach. We’re focusing on industries that will be here [the next] 20 to 50 years—it’s very much a generational approach that we’re looking at taking.”

The big news from Lilly capped a record-setting week for economic development in Indiana, coming one day after Netherlands-based automaker Stellantis and electronics giant Samsung SDI announced they are investing $2.5 billion in a joint venture that will build electric vehicle batteries in Kokomo.

This article was featured in the July 2022 edition of the IEDC’s newsletter. Subscribe today.