Holcomb, Eli Lilly announce additional $5.3 billion investment in LEAP

Gov. Eric Holcomb joined Eli Lilly and company Chair and CEO David A. Ricks Friday to announce Lilly’s plans to more than double its investment at the LEAP Research and Innovation District in Lebanon.

The new $5.3 billion expansion brings Lilly’s total LEAP investment to $9 billion and will enhance the company’s capacity to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for its latest type 2 diabetes and obesity medicines, a news release said.

“Lilly continues to play a transformational role in shaping Indiana’s opportunity economy, and I couldn’t be more proud about their pole position leadership in developing the LEAP Research and Innovation District in Lebanon, Indiana. Lilly has long been driving global innovation and economic growth that will be felt for decades here at home,” Holcomb said. “As an international company, headquartered in Indiana, Lilly had a world of options to consider before making this investment, and choosing Indiana once again reinforces the incredible environment we’ve cultivated and the talented workforce we have to carry Lilly’s success forward. I can’t wait to see the incredible benefits this investment leads to for patients around the world, knowing they were made in Indiana.”

In addition to the new, multi-billion-dollar investment, Lilly also committed to create another 200 new, full-time jobs for highly skilled workers, such as engineers, scientists, operating personnel and lab technicians, bringing the company’s total planned new jobs at LEAP to 900.

“Today’s announcement tops the largest manufacturing investment in our company’s history and, we believe, represents the single largest investment in synthetic medicine API manufacturing in U.S. history,” said Ricks. “This multi-site campus will make our latest medicines, support pipeline growth and leverage the latest technology and automation for maximum efficiency, safety and quality control. Importantly, we are investing in our home state of Indiana, creating high-wage, advanced manufacturing, engineering and science jobs for hundreds of current and future Hoosier families.”

The LEAP district in Lebanon has been fraught with controversy as the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has bought up thousands of acres of land at prices exceeding assessed value. A plan to possibly pipe in millions of gallons of water from Tippecanoe County also stirred controversy. So far, Lilly remains the only company publicly committed to LEAP.

Since breaking ground at LEAP in April 2023, Lilly has transformed a significant portion of its 600 acres at the site into an active construction site and expects to begin making medicines there in late 2026.

The state has agreed to assist in developing a robust workforce ecosystem of qualified manufacturing talent by providing the land and helping to raise capital for a new workforce training center that will be part of the larger LEAP industrial development. The new training center will have added impact by aligning with Lilly’s previously announced financial support for scholarship and training programs with Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College, as well as the BioCrossroads-led training center at 16 Tech – part of Indiana’s recent Tech Hub designation.

“We are excited about Eli Lilly and Company’s plan to expand their investment in Lebanon, reinforcing their role as a key community partner in driving future innovation and economic prosperity,” said Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry. “Their investment underscores our shared commitment to creating greater opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for our residents and community.”

Based on the company’s plans to create 200 additional new jobs at their project site in LEAP, the IEDC committed an additional investment in Lilly of up to $500,000 in the form of incentive-based training grants. The IEDC also committed an additional investment of up to $20 million in redevelopment tax credits and $15 million in road infrastructure improvements based on the company’s announced plans to invest an additional $5.3 billion.

With a total estimated capital investment of $9.7 billion and the hiring of 900 high-wage positions by Lilly at their LEAP site, the IEDC also revised its Innovation Development District award structure to accommodate a 30-year benefit period with an estimated value of $1.2 billion in tax rebates and the flexibility for the project to further grow. All incentives remain subject to final IEDC Board of Directors and state of Indiana required approvals and contracting.

By Niki Kelly – The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.