Lilly to create $700mn Institute for Genetic Medicine

Investing $700mn to establish a new site, Eli Lilly plans to fuel the development of genetic medicines through the company’s new Institute for Genetic Medicine.

blue and clear capsule with a silver DNA stand inside - idea of gene therapy

Eli Lilly and Company will invest approximately $700 million to establish the state-of-the-art Lilly Institute for Genetic Medicine at a new site in the Boston Seaport, US.

The investment – part of the company’s strategy to advance RNA-based therapeutics – builds on the 2020 acquisition and rapid expansion of Prevail Therapeutics, a gene therapy pioneer based in New York City. Working together, researchers in both Boston and New York will leverage promising RNA- and DNA-based technologies to develop therapies with the potential to treat or prevent diseases in a manner that is challenging or not possible with traditional medicines.

“Establishing the Lilly Institute for Genetic Medicine will allow us to pair cutting-edge technologies with our deep biological expertise in several areas including neuroscience and diabetes,” commented Andrew C Adams, vice president of genetic medicine at Lilly and co-director of the Institute. “Lilly will focus on medicines acting at the nucleic acid level to advance an entirely new class that target the root cause of diseases, an approach that is fundamentally different than medicines available today.”

Lilly stated that, through the institute, it intends to drive the development of genetic medicines, which already account for more than 20 percent of Lilly’s diabetes, immunology and central nervous system research portfolio. Within five years, the company projects the Boston site will grow from 120 to more than 250 research biologists, chemists, data scientists and other experts in genetic medicine, while the New York site will grow to include up to 200 scientists – all employed by Lilly.

“The Institute will enhance our efforts on neurodegenerative diseases and integrate Lilly’s genetic medicine research and platforms with the goal of advancing promising and potentially life-altering new medicines from the lab to clinical studies and ultimately to patients,” added Franz Hefti, Chief Executive Officer of Prevail Therapeutics at Lilly and co-director of the Institute. “We look forward to working with hundreds of scientists and researchers who share a common goal – to create and develop innovative genetic medicines that make life better for people around the world.”

The Institute will be headquartered in 334,000 sq. ft. of leased space in a 12-story building in the Seaport district of Boston. Occupancy of the new site is scheduled for 2024.

The site will also include a shared space – modelled after Lilly Gateway Labs in San Francisco – to support biotech start-ups in the Boston area. This space will provide dedicated and configurable lab and office space, access to Lilly scientists, and opportunities for collaboration. These companies are expected to create as many as 150 additional new jobs once the space is fully occupied.