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Eli Lilly: Developing Cymbalta Case Study

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Eli Lilly Case Study




Case Study Analysis

Eli Lilly: Developing Cymbalta Case Study

AMBA 650

Section 1131

Kelvin Harris

January 24, 2012

Executive Summary

Eli Lilly and Company resounding success was the arrival of Prozac in 1988. By mid-1988, a new anti-depressant team was formed to find and develop a drug that would be the successor to Prozac. The strategic issues and problems they faced were developing a new drug to replace Prozac, meeting the company budget constraints to perform clinical trials, and finally launch the new drug by mid-2001. The analysis and evaluation revealed that the pharmaceutical industry is changing fast and it usually takes a long time and millions of dollars to develop a new drug. The recommendation for Eli Lilly is to take the lead in developing the new drug Cymbalta, invest a stable share of the company revenue, seek the FDA approval for the development of Cymbalta before going to market, and not change their market plan from the FDA approved Cymbalta dosage of 20 mg twice daily.


Eli Lilly and Company was founded by Colonel Eli Lilly, Lilly’s namesake, in 1876 when he purchased a laboratory on Pearl Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. Eli Lilly was a pharmacist who had served in the Union Army during the Civil War. The company success included creating the process for applying gelatin-coating to pills for easier swallowing and the introduction of Iletin which was the first mass-produced insulin. Iletin and Lilly’s insulin products improved the treatment for diabetes.

Lilly’s scientific advancements includes the development of orally administered penicillin products, the discovery of erythromycin (an antibiotic), and the partnership in the mass production of Salk polio vaccine. Oraflex (an antiarthritic) was Lilly’s failure and was withdrawn from the market due to cases of jaundice.

Eli Lilly and Company was often called “the Prozac Company” after the success of Prozac in 1988. In mid-1988, a new anti-depressant team (NAT) was formed with a mission to find and develop a drug that would better meet the needs of patients suffering from depression. This new drug was to would be a successor to Prozac and needed be launched 18 months before the expiration of the Prozac patent. Cymbalta is a serotonin and norepinephrine receptor inhibitor that was developed for the Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) market. After years of expert assessment, Cymbalta study revealed greater reduction in the symptoms of depression as compared


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