Dive Insight:

Lilly made the announcement less than two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration cleared a major new diabetes drug called Mounjaro. All told, the company has won approval for 17 new medicines over the past eight years and expects to bring as many as four more to market in the next two years.

The list of potential launches includes donanemab for Alzheimer’s disease and the cancer treatment pirtobrutinib. Both are considered potential blockbusters along with Mounjaro (tirzepatide); Wall Street estimates for all three medicines are around $3 billion or more, according to a recent Lilly presentation.

With expectations high for new products, Lilly has been pouring money into manufacturing facilities. The new investment comes on top of $2.5 billion earmarked for sites in and around Indianapolis over five years. The company is also building a $470 million plant in North Carolina.

All told, Lilly spent about $1.4 billion on capital expenditures in 2020 and $1.3 billion last year, according to its latest annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lilly is also among the many drugmakers transferring money to its shareholders. In 2021, it bought back almost $1.3 billion worth of shares, completing an $8 billion repurchase program that started in 2018 and kicking off another $5 billion buyback announced in May 2021.