Our Heritage

Eli Lilly and Company has been in business for 140 years. Founded in 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly in Indianapolis in the United States we have since become a global, research-based company and the 10th biggest pharmaceutical company in the world.

Right from the beginning, innovation has been central to Lilly. As a 38-year-old pharmaceutical chemist and a veteran of the US Civil War, Colonel Lilly was frustrated by the poorly prepared, often ineffective medicines of his day. Consequently, he made a commitment to himself and to society that he would create a responsible, innovative pharmaceutical company that manufactured products of the highest possible quality.

That commitment remains the same today.

Milestones in our story
Eli Lilly is established in Indianapolis, United States
1923: Our first big blockbuster moment came with Lilly's introduction of Iletin, the world's first commercially available insulin product for the treatment of diabetes, then a fatal disease with no effective treatment
1934: Lilly’s first overseas office was opened in London
1943: Lilly was among the first companies to develop a method to mass-produce penicillin, the world's first antibiotic, marking the beginning of a sustained effort to fight infectious diseases.
1979: Ceclor®, a member of the cephalosporin family, was launched and eventually became the world's top-selling oral antibiotic.
1982:  Lilly introduced Humulin® - insulin identical to that produced by the human body. Humulin was the world's first human healthcare product created using recombinant DNA technology and represents the most significant breakthrough in diabetes care since the 1920s.
1986: Lilly launched Prozac®, the first major introduction in a new class of drugs for treatment of clinical depression.
1996: Lilly introduced  Zyprexa® for the treatment of schizophrenia.
2002: Cialis®, a medication to treat male erectile dysfunction, was approved for marketing in the European Union.
2004: Lilly launches Strattera® – a new treatment for ADHD
2005: Lilly launches Cymbalta® for depression
2009: Efient®  launches – treatment for the reduction of thrombotic cardiovascular events (including stent thrombosis) in patients with acute coronary syndromes who are managed with an artery-opening procedure known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
2013: Lilly celebrates 25 years of research and reaffirms the commitment to make the dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease preventable by 2025.