Eli Lilly said today it plans to expand its staff and its space, at its Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego.
The pharma giant said it will generate up to 130 potential new job openings and add an additional 175,000 square feet of working space to the center.
The expansion—set to be completed in 2016—is intended to facilitate additional new collaborations in one of the nation’s Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters as ranked by GEN. The expanded space will enable closer collaboration among Lilly professionals in discovery chemistry and research technologies and biotechnology, which according to the company will help speed up discovery of new drugs in core therapeutic areas.
One of Lilly’s core therapeutic areas is immunology, which along with immunological clinical development will be among the disciplines the company said it will seek in the new experts it plans to hire, along with biotechnology and chemistry.
Back in January, Lilly said it will focus internal R&D on core and emerging areas, which include diabetes, oncology, neurodegeneration, and pain, as well as immunology. In immunology, Lilly on June 10 released positive results from two Phase III studies (UNCOVER-2 and UNCOVER-3) showing that its moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis treatment ixekizumab was statistically superior to etanercept and placebo on all measures of skin clearance.
Also on June 10, at the European League Against Rheumatism meeting in Rome, Lilly and partner Incyte detailed positive Phase III results announced months earlier for another immunology candidate. The companies have said that their rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib met its primary endpoint of improved ACR20 response compared to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment in one trial, and showed a statistically significant improvement compared to placebo in a second study.
Lilly initially expanded into the San Diego region in 2004 by acquiring Applied Molecular Evolution, now a subsidiary of the company. The Lilly Biotechnology Center was officially established in 2009 and is located near the University of California, San Diego and other biomedical research institutions.
Lilly disclosed its San Diego expansion plans on the day it reported an 18% year-to-year drop in reported net income to $600.8 million, on revenue that inched up 1% to $4.979 billion. Lilly also lowered its 2015 earnings per share guidance to between $2.20 and $2.30 per share on a reported basis, down from $2.40 to $2.50—but raised its guidance to between $3.20 and $3.30 on a non-GAAP basis, up from $3.10 and $3.20, citing solid underlying performance in the first six months of 2015.
The company said today it benefited from the inclusion of results from the former Novartis Animal Health and higher volume for several products, including cancer treatment Cyramza (ramucirumab) and diabetes drug Trulicity (dulaglutide). But Lilly also acknowledged that those successes were largely offset by unfavorable foreign exchange rates and the residual impact of patent expirations for antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) and the osteoporosis and breast cancer drug Evista (raloxifene).