iSpeak Blog

Meet Eli Lilly and Company – 2020 Facility of the Year Award Winner for Operational Excellence

Marcy Sanford
Meet Eli Lilly and Company – 2020 Facility of the Year Award Winner for Operational Excellence

Eli Lilly and Company is the 2020 FOYA Category Winner for Operational Excellence for their Lilly Innovation Development Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2020 Category Winner for Operational Excellence - Eli Lilly and Company

Operational Excellence Award Winners have applied modern management techniques to improve operation efficiencies, promote excellent quality and consistency, and yield competitive cost of goods from existing and new facilities, processes, and manufacturing operations.

Project: Lilly Innovation Development Center

By embracing optimized work processes and providing workspace to agilely adapt not only to laboratory needs, but to the most appropriate processes for collaboration and workspaces, the Center established itself as a model for rapid pharmaceutical development, proving to the industry that it is possible to bring successful therapies to market faster than ever before.

FOYA Judges

Eli Lilly and Company- Exterior

A global healthcare leader, Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, by Colonel Eli Lilly, a man committed to creating high-quality medicines. Lilly employs about 33,000 people worldwide with almost 8,000 people committed to research and development of new medicines. Before planning their new Center, Lilly spent several years examining the traditional industry accepted belief that drug development is a drawn-out, time-consuming process characterized by complex challenges and long delays and set out to determine what facility factors could help improve the pharmaceutical development process. They analyzed many of the basic assumptions of the development process and as a result implemented leading-edge improvements throughout their new facility, the Lilly Innovation Development Center.

Located in the middle of Lilly’s Indianapolis, Indiana, campus, the new Center brings modeling, analytical, and formulation scientists together with organic chemists and engineers in a collaboration-centric workspace and enables Lilly to effectively accelerate traditional time scales – reducing the development time for new medicines from years to mere months.

One of the most common delays development teams face is the need to reconfigure a laboratory to support a new approach. Sometimes, the progress of the candidate compound is put on hold while the team works to design a new lab which then has to be constructed before the development process can continue. Previously, Lilly estimated they spent $2.7 million over a period of 3 years reconfiguring 42 hood arrangements.

Lilly’s Innovation Center was designed so that researchers could transform their laboratory to support new or revised processes in a matter of days. The innovative design also eliminates the costs of involving a laboratory architect and general contractor.

Early in the project, Lilly’s team determined that they wanted the building design to help make collaboration easy and effective. As with the laboratories, workspaces were designed to be flexible and easy to configure based on the users and their needs. There are no assigned workspaces at the Innovation Center; employees can work wherever is best suited for their current activities. Teams are able to organically formulate project groups on a day-to-day basis in areas that match and support what is happening in the lab. Each staff member has an ergonomic number that they can enter into a work station for either sitting or standing so that it will adjust to their height. The Center was even designed to support employees when they are working off site. Every laboratory in the facility is supported by a Distributed Control System (DCS), allowing researchers to monitor and control their experiments.

“The automation and remote monitoring allows me to continue my research while I’m away from the lab,” said Martin D. Johnson, Senior Engineering Advisor, Small Molecule Design and Development, Eli Lilly and Company. “I can run my experiment sitting in my kitchen at home or monitor its progress using Wi-Fi at my favorite coffee shop.” This remote access to ongoing processes allowed for the continuation of development activities during the COVID-19 closure periods.

  • Lilly campus core 43
  • Lilly Exterior Views Staircases
  • Lilly Adjacent Workspaces
  • Lilly Bench with a View
  • Lilly Exterior

Lilly’s Innovation Center also showcases the research being conducted in its laboratories and offers opportunities for students, employees, and patients to see the life-saving work Lilly researchers are doing. Throughout the building art work interpreting science and healing hangs on the walls but The Lilly Oncology on Campus program, a compelling art collection of pieces created by people affected by cancer, really reinforces the importance of the work being performed within the facility and its impact on individuals.

ISPE congratulates Lilly on the success of their Innovation Development Center and for their achievements in advancing research and development and their FOYA award winning entry for Operational Excellence. Learn more about the 2020 FOYA Operational Excellence winner.

Has your company recently designed, built or renovated a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical or biotechnology facility that is best in its class?

ISPE is now accepting entries into the 2021 ISPE Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA) Program, and your facility may be eligible to apply. Learn more about the Facility of the Year Awards submission process and your company could be the next Facility of the Year Awards Category winner. Nominate your facility in 2021

Submit Application

Want to learn more about the 2020 FOYA winning projects? Get inspiration for future innovations at these complimentary digital events.

Get a free Facility of the Year Awards Day Pass to take an in-depth look at each of the 2020 FOYA winning projects during the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo. Claim your complimentary pass today to benefit from 3 hours of compelling and insightful sessions.

Join ISPE and prominent industry leaders on Tuesday, 3 November, as we come together to recognize the outstanding achievements of all the FOYA winners during the 2020 Facility of the Year Awards Virtual Banquet.

Register Now