Lilly, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, has discovered a medication for breast cancer at its complex in Alcobendas

How did Lilly start out?

Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876 in Indianapolis (Indiana) by Colonel Eli Lilly, a man who was committed to quality and innovation as a way of meeting real needs, at a time when it was commonplace to use ineffective elixirs produced without any quality criteria. Its beginnings are marked by several landmark achievements: it was one of the first companies to set up a research program; one of the first to develop a mass production method for penicillin; the first to achieve an insulin identical to that produced by the human body…

After 141 years, Eli Lilly is one of the ten leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide and continues to honor its tradition of taking something that already exists and making it even better. Lilly applies this vision in all aspects of its business and with everyone it serves: patients, healthcare professionals, the company employees, and finally, the communities where it is present.


When and why did Lilly decide to open in Spain?
Lilly has been present in Spain since 1963, first through a joint investment business agreement, and subsequently since 1997 as a subsidiary 100% owned by the company.

Its commitment to Spain has been demonstrated on several occasions in its more than 50 years of history. So when the current facilities became insufficient for the volume of work, construction was begun on the company's current industrial complex in Alcobendas. It now occupies an area of ten hectares and 40,000 square meters, the site of the production plant, the medical chemistry research building, the biochemistry and cell biology laboratory, the headquarters of the Lilly Foundation, the sales division in the animal health area, and the administration services.

The presence of a center of excellence in R+D is due to the high standard of Spanish researchers –which is internationally recognized– and the robust health care system.


What investment has Lilly made in Spain so far?
Lilly España is among the subsidiaries with the highest profile and the most committed to research and development. In 2015 it invested 58.7 million euros, 13.16% of its sales. In 2016 this figure rose to 53.3 million euros, representing 15.75% of its annual revenues. The company also invest 8 million euros a year in its production plant.


How important is Spain in Lilly's corporate strategy?
Eli Lilly is present on all five continents, although it only has R+D centers in six countries, and production plants in 13. Lilly España has one such center and a plant from which it exports to 125 countries. In other words, Lilly today is one of the few pharmaceutical companies in Spain to cover the whole development process of a medicine, from identifying the active principles through to its commercialization. This undoubtedly makes it one of the company's most strategic assets.


What is Lilly's outlook for the future?
At the global local, Lilly plans to launch some 20 new products between 2014 and 2023, many of which may meet medical needs that are not covered in a large part of the population. Lilly carries out its activities in the fields of diabetes, oncology, endocrinology and autoimmune diseases.


Is research into breast cancer its greatest commitment?
Research into oncology is one of our country's most important areas of activity. We also focus our efforts on areas such as endocrinology and autoimmune diseases, among others. We have recently obtained very satisfactory results with a drug against breast cancer that is still not authorized in Spain, but whose molecule has been investigated in its earliest phases in our Alcobendas research center.