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Lilly Introduces Global 'Innovation Starts Here' Initiative to Foster Innovation and Quality Science

BRUSSELS, Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) today announced the launch of its global Innovation Starts Here initiative which supports Lilly's commitment to speeding the delivery of innovative new medicines to patients around the world.

Two key components of this initiative include the Lilly Research Awards Program and the Lilly Innovation Fellowship Awards. Through both, Lilly scientists will collaborate with academic researchers on projects that will aid in the advancement of Lilly's pipeline for the future. These important programs will also further Lilly's investment in research and development (R&D) in Europe, as well as in the United States.

"Through Innovation Starts Here, Lilly is contributing to a global collaborative culture for idea generation and innovation, helping to build the Lilly pipeline for the future while also providing resources to advance important research and development programs in Europe," said Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., executive vice president, science and technology, and president, Lilly Research Laboratories. "Collaboration is a key component to discovering innovative medicines and improving outcomes for patients. Finding innovative medicines that have clear, demonstrable value for those diseases where the unmet need is great – like diabetes and Alzheimer's disease – is not only a scientific imperative, it's an economic one as well."

Dr. Lundberg made these comments while in Brussels visiting Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and John Dalli, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. In addition to providing details about the Innovation Starts Here program, he highlighted that Lilly's 2011 global investment in R&D was approximately $5.02 billion. Lilly has also doubled R&D investments in Europe over the past 10 years. Examples of some of Lilly's R&D initiatives in Europe include: 

  • Lilly has multiple clinical trials underway for new potential medicines across a number of unique areas.
  • Lilly participates in the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private collaboration aiming to speed the development of new medicines for patients; Lilly has contributed to 11 projects with more in the pipeline.
  • Lilly established the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, an industry-academic consortium and post-doctoral fellowship program focused on increasing the probability of clinical success for potential medicines to treat conditions involving cognitive impairment, such as sleep disorders, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
  • Later this spring, Lilly plans to open a new building at its Erl Wood Research Center in the United Kingdom. Opened in 1967, Erl Wood was the company's first R&D site outside the United States.  

Innovation Fellowship Awards

Lilly's new Innovation Fellowship Awards Program will foster post-doctoral career development through the selection of highly innovative research proposals. Lilly has created this program to broaden post-doctoral scientists' training experiences and better prepare them for a broad range of careers, including in the pharmaceutical industry. The awards establish a pre-competitive academic-industry training partnership where a post-doctoral fellow and academic mentor are paired with a Lilly scientist to provide the industry resources that can enable the advancement of the post-doctoral scientists' research proposal. In 2012, the Lilly Fellowship Award Program will be by invitation only to applicants at academic research centers in the United States and United Kingdom.

Research Awards Program

The Lilly Research Awards Program brings together a diverse group of scientists worldwide in an effort to further the advancement of research in important therapeutic areas where Lilly has expertise, including neuroscience, cancer, diabetes, immune system disorders and others.

The Lilly Research Awards Program was established in late 2011 to identify and support research and technology collaborations between Lilly scientists and external academic experts worldwide.

The collaborations established under the Lilly Research Awards Program are truly two-way, providing a pre-competitive environment in which scientists in academia gain invaluable access to tools to conduct basic research, and in turn, Lilly scientists receive critical information to help inform the future of drug discovery and development. By 2014, Lilly expects to support approximately 30 active projects a year. Examples of projects include development of new assays, validation of disease targets or biomarkers and improvement of preclinical models.

Three of the collaborative research projects selected for funding in 2011 under the Lilly Research Awards Program are:

  • Department of Neurobiology, University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark: two-year program that will explore the potential expression and function of novel receptor variants in the brain to generate more robust findings regarding their roles in cognition, particularly as they relate to schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, which could lead to the advancement of new molecules into clinical development.
  • Institute of Neuroscience, Alicante, Spain: two-year program that will advance the understanding of the neurobiology of schizophrenia in order to help manage cognitive impairment and treat negative symptoms of the disease.
  • Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis: two-year program to study the roles played by distinct types of signals associated with chronic pain disorders with the long-term goal of discovering new treatments for neurological disorders and pain that deliver better patient outcomes. Indianapolis is the site of Lilly's global corporate and R&D headquarters.

"This collaboration with Lilly allows us to take our research in this important area of cognition one step further in an effort to generate data that could help inform future clinical studies in schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease," said Jens Mikkelsen, M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist at the Neurobiology Research Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital. "We look forward to working with Lilly in this innovative setting in which our findings have the potential to bring value and novel scientific findings to all parties involved, as well as the global drug discovery and development community."

"We are excited this project was accepted and are eager to begin this important work that we believe has the potential to inform how we develop better medicines for treating neurological disorders and pain," said Theodore Cummins, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine. "Collaborations between industry and academia are critical in establishing new ways of conducting basic research, and we are very pleased to work with Lilly on this project."

Currently, Lilly is visiting academic institutions worldwide to invite them to participate in the Lilly Research Awards Program.

Notes to Editors
Interviews on request with:
Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., executive vice president, science and technology, and president, Lilly Research Laboratories

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at


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