Medically reviewed by Thomas Fischer (Pharmacist). This article was written according to medical standards. More Info

Medically reviewed by Thomas Fischer (Pharmacist)More Info

Founded in 1876, Eli Lilly is an American pharmaceutical company which has its head office in Indiana. The company is named after its creator,  Colonel Eli Lilly.

In 1953 the company restructured and was no longer a family managed business. It expanded globally and listed on the S&P 500 index. In 1998 Eli Lilly and the company collaborated with ICOS, a biotechnology company, on a venture called Cialis, a medication for erectile dysfunction (read more: Impotence Medications (The Best ED Drugs Compared)).

The History Of Eli Lilly and Company

Colonel Eli Lilly had been a pharmaceutical chemist working at various drug stores and partnerships. In 1876 when a dissolution of one of these left him with a portion of finance and assets, he decided to open his own pharmaceutical business. He opened this business on 10 May 1876. This business is what is today known as Eli Lilly and Company. On 10 May 1876, Colonel Eli Lilly had begun his business venture with just three employees other than himself.

Eli lilly

He began manufacturing medication. One of his employees at this time was his own son. He hired his first full-time salesman in 1878, and this salesman was his brother. His brother, together with a sales team, began marketing the medication on a national level.

The company first produced medications for illnesses such as malaria and then later developed more unique discoveries. Some of the company’s innovations include sugar-coated pills ( which made them easier to swallow), fruity flavorings, gelatin-coating for tablets and capsules.

Colonel Eli Lilly remained president of the company until 1898 when he died. His son, JK, took over the role of company president. He had also graduated as a pharmaceutical chemist in 1882, whereafter he served as a superintendent at the company’s laboratory. In 1890 JK was given the responsibility of handling daily management. This prepared him for taking the presidential role. One of the company’s best selling medications was Succus Alteran, which they were contracted to mix and sell in 1883.

Colonel Eli Lilly tried to keep the business family-oriented. Of his staff, he employed several relatives, including his grandsons. In their youth, they ran errands for the company and eventually also became presidents of the company.

The company later introduced scientific management concepts and began to distribute its products to the international market. On this platform, the company really made its mark. The company sales shot through the roof and reached $1 million by 1905. Other advancements that occurred was a method of blueprinting manufacturing tickets. This process assisted with eradicating specific manufacturing and transcription errors. 

Eli Lilly

In the 1920s, the collaboration between Eli Lilly and Company and three university scientists on an insulin project accelerated production. Eli Lilly monopolized the insulin market until 1924. The success of this endeavor attracted famous scientists to the team, enabling them to make even more advances.

The company continued to grow despite various economic changes, including the great depression. During the second world war, the company expanded even further. It manufactured penicillin and Merthiolate. Merthiolate became a standard-issue item for the US army. 

By the 1950s, Eli Lilly and Company introduced two antibiotics to the market and also produced the polio vaccine. These medications put Eli Lilly and Company even further ahead of its competitors. They were making the company more prestigious than it was prior to these developments.

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What Are The Most Well-Known Drugs By Eli Lilly?

Since the date of its inception, Eli Lilly and Company has been an innovative entity. This approach has been a significant contributing factor to its growth and expansion. From its early years, it has produced well-known medications and set the trend with regards to innovation and development.

In the Beginning

One of the first widely known medicines produced by Eli Lilly and Company is quinine. The medication is used for treating malaria and babesiosis. One other well-known drug that Eli Lilly and Company was contracted to produce in the early stage of its existence was Succus Alteran.

This medication had multiple uses. Some of its applications were to treat syphilis, rheumatism, eczema, and psoriasis. In the years that followed, Eli Lilly and Company would trademark Iletin. This medication was the first commercially available insulin product in the USA. They were showing off more of the company’s ability in the development of drugs.

Sales began in 1923. Many have claimed that this was the most quintessential product manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. In 1930 Merthiolate was introduced as an antiseptic. The company produced this during the second world war. A decade later, Eli Lilly and Company produced penicillin.

Post World Wars

Eli Lilly and Company did not stop there. In the 1950s, it introduced Vancomycin. This was an antibiotic drug. Eli Lilly was also contracted to produce medication for the clinical trials of the Solk vaccine.

The company’s drug production increased dramatically in the 1970s. In 1971 Keflex was produced. It was another antibiotic medication. Later that decade, the company would go on to create Dobutrex, Ceclor, Eldisine, Oraflex, and Darvon.

Dobutrex was a heart medication used for cardiogenic shock. It was also used for heart failure. Ceclor was a popular oral antibiotic, and Eldisine was used for leukemia. Darvon was an analgesic and Oral flex and anti-arthritic.

The 1980s brought about the production of the popular Prozac. In 2003 Cialis was introduced. The project was done in collaboration with ICOS. In 2006 Eli Lilly acquired ICOS. Eli Lilly and Company also became the world’s largest manufacturer of mental health-related medications.

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An example of this is Cymbalta, which was an antidepressant. Zyprexa is another mental health-related medication used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Other famous drugs produced by the company include Tumerosal, Secobarbital, Methadone, and Gemzar.

Expansion Of Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and Company started in 1876 as a single store located in Indianapolis, with just three employees. The company moved to larger premises in an industrial area in 1881.

After a successful contract in 1883, Eli Lilly and Company had acquired sufficient funds to expand the research and manufacturing facilities. As the company’s innovation continued, a manufacturing plant was purchased in 1894 for the sole purpose of creating capsules.

In 1911, the manufacturing facilities expanded, and production capacity improved with the addition of building 14. In 1913 the addition of building 15 became the new capsule plant. From 1962 Eli Lilly and Company acquired various entities.

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Acquisitions

It acquired Distillers Company first in 1962, followed by Elizabeth Arden Inc. in 1971. The acquisition of Elizabeth Arden was not an expected venture for the company. It was sold again in 1987. In the 1970s, the company acquired IVAC Corporation and Cardiac pacemakers Inc. Both of these were finalized in 1977.

The turn of the decade saw further growth for Eli Lilly and Company. Four new acquisitions had occurred by 1986. Hybritech, Physio Control Inc., Advance Cardiovascular Systems Inc, and Devices for Vascular Intervention Inc were all part of Eli Lilly and Company by the late 1980s.

In the 1990s, the company went on to acquire Pacific Biotech, Origin Medsystems, PCS Systems as well as Rhythm Tech. The company did not stop there. The new millennium may have had a slow start with regards to company acquisitions, but growth was reignited in 2007 when Eli Lilly and Company purchased ICOS Corporations.

Hypnion Inc, Imclone Systems, SGX Pharmaceuticals, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Loxo Oncology, Alnara Pharmaceutical, AurKa Pharma, and Armo Biosciences all followed suit. These were all the acquisitions made by Eli Lilly and Company from the time of establishment until 2019.

A New Division

Eli Lilly and Company also opened a division called Elanco Products Company in 1954. This division has its own extensive acquisition list. Elanco Products Company basically specializes in products related to animal health.

In 1989 Elanco Products Company, together with Dow Chemical, established a joint venture called DowElanco. This establishment was sold to Dow Chemical ten years later in 1999. The new millennium brought a lot of additional acquisitions for Elanco Products Company.

The first of these acquisitions occurred in 2007 when Elanco Products Company acquired Ivy Animal Health. The following addition of the new millennium was Pfizer AnimalHealth. This acquisition was announced on 8 March 2010.

Janssen Pharmaceutica Animal Health was acquired just a year later. These acquisitions were followed shortly by ChemGen Corp, Lohmann SE, Novartis Animal Health, and Bayer AnimalHealth. Elanco Animal Health completed an exchange offer with Eli Lilly and announced on 11 March 2019 that it is now an independent entity.

The Cialis Route To Success

Eli Lilly and Company collaborated with ICOS on the joint venture of Cialis. The investment was aimed at creating a Tadalafil based drug to assist with erectile dysfunction. They wanted a product that would compete with Viagra. 

Cialis is one of the most widely recognized medications worldwide for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. By 2005, global sales of this one product reached $1 billion.

The release by competitors of the generic active ingredient Tadalafil has eaten into Cialis’ recent sales. However, the product is still heavily marketed and prescribed by medical professionals all over the world.

Article Sources

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  4.  “Eli Lilly Bags Dermatology Company Dermira for $1.1 Billion”BioSpace. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  5. Murphy, Tom (12 January 2011). “Lilly, Boehringer Collaborate on Diabetes Drugs”. Anderson Herald Bulletin. Anderson, IN. p. A7.
  6.  “Lilly Among the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies”Lilly.com. Retrieved 8 June 2018.