Lilly Bolsters Biotech Presence in San Diego

TomBumolToday's guest blog comes from Thomas F. Bumol, Ph.D., senior vice president of biotechnology and immunology research at Lilly.

I'm excited to announce the expansion of the company's presence at the Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego. While our history in San Diego goes back to the Hybritech acquisition in the late 1980s, the acquisition of Applied Molecular Evolution more than 11 years ago solidified our commitment to this bio-pharmaceutical innovation hub. We co-located the AME group with scientists from our SGX acquisition at the current Lilly Biotechnology Center back in 2009. Then we added Immunology Research and Early Phase Clinical Investigation efforts there over the past few years. That has quickly filled out current capacity.

Now we're adding 175,000 square feet of space and as many as 130 new roles on Campus Point Drive. With about 50 percent of the company’s portfolio being biologics, many designed and engineered in San Diego, we're preparing for the next wave of biotech innovation with this expansion. We are also building out our expertise to establish immunology as a core therapeutic area of the company. Providing more experts in both pre-clinical and clinical work is critical to build on the portfolio’s success, and the internal synergy between small- and large-molecule research has flourished in a co-location that we'd like to see grow.

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To be clear, this expansion is built on a collaborative outlook. We're bringing in top-notch scientific talent to further exploit large- and small-molecule technologies. We have already initiated novel external collaborations locally to take advantage of our technology base and attract long-term innovative collaborators who are pioneering in new fields.

This is just the beginning. We want more first-in-class opportunities moving forward, and we believe the expansion of our West Coast base will help Lilly create this type of innovation.

As you can see, our commitment to be a key presence in the region remains substantial. And our timing could not be better, as regional institutions like the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and the University of California, San Diego, heighten their commitments to translational medicine above their world-class academic research. Our center is located near major academic institutions including those, the Salk Institute, and the Scripps Research Institute. So the area is well known as a bastion of biomedical research, and collaboration remains crucial to improving the health and lives of people the world over. Integrated work between San Diego's biotech community and academia makes our reinforced presence a sound and promising choice. These efforts will seek to ramp up the discovery of new medicines to make life better—always our ultimate end game.

As my colleague Alan Palkowitz, Lilly's vice president of discovery chemistry and technologies, said, "If you look at what many of our competitors are doing, this is a bold move for Lilly and a strong statement about our innovation strategy. Times of transition are full of uncertainty, but this investment is a vote for innovation, a vote for our scientists, and a commitment to further grow our pipeline with breakthrough medicines for patients in need."

We look forward to revealing our new presence in 2016. We're not just expanding our San Diego space and staff—we are doubling our efforts on the West Coast.

 

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