Eli Lilly to open plant in county

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. plans to build a drug manufacturing plant at Innovation @Prince William.

The plant, which will sit on 120 acres next to George Mason University, will produce insulin used to treat diabetes. It will employ more than 700 people.

The $425 million project is one of the largest economic investments in Virginia history, according to Gov. Mark R. Warner.

County officials said they are ecstatic about the deal and believe the plant, clustered with the American Type Culture Collection and George Mason University, will bring more biotech companies to Prince William.

“I think this is the crown jewel of biotech projects and I can’t help but believe it’s going to be attractive to other companies,” said Martin Briley, director of the county Department of Economic Development.

Briley said the county has been working since January to bring Lilly to [email protected] William, a business park near Manassas that is partially owned by Prince William County.

Incentives offered to Lilly include $2.5 million from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and $2 million from the county’s Economic Development Fund, which will be used toward the cost of site development fees and infrastructure for the site.

The county also plans to cut the machinery equipment tax by half — from $2 per $100 of assessed value to $1 — as an incentive for Lilly, said Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large.

Lilly’s manufacturing equipment is so valuable that, even by cutting the tax rate in half, the revenue will still be significant, he said.

Taxes on the Lilly plant will generate an estimated $29.5 million for the county over 10 years, according to the Department of Economic Development.

Before committing to the [email protected] William site, Lilly was considering sites in Raleigh, N.C., and South Carolina.

The Innovation plant will be Lilly’s first manufacturing facility outside of Indiana, where the company is headquartered. It will produce Humulin, insulin identical to that produced by the human body, and Humalog, a rapid-acting insulin.

“This is truly amazing for Virginia. This announcement is one of the biggest pharmaceutical announcements in several years and for Virginia to land it is huge,” said Mark Herzog, director of the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Briley said [email protected] William has received increased attention from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, the manufacturing industry and the federal government over the past six months.

The telecommunications industry, which was the park’s “bread and butter” during 2000, has dropped off because of the economy’s recent dip, he said.

Several projects planned for Innovation were postponed last year, but the American Type Culture Collection recently broke ground on a major expansion and George Mason University is expanding its Prince William campus.

“Lilly will be a huge, huge asset to Prince William County because, unlike high tech companies that have radical spikes in [economic performance], Eli Lilly has been around for decades and is very stable,” said county Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn III, R-Gainesville.

Connaughton said Lilly will work closely with George Mason University and that the school was an major attraction for the company. The office of Randall Edwards, head of the Prince William campus of GMU, referred all questions about the Lilly plant to the county.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin before the end of the year and operations should begin in 2004. The facility will be completed in 2007.

About 26 acres of the site is owned by the county, while the remaining 94 will be purchased from Lee Sammis Associates.

Lilly was founded in 1876 and has sales of more than $11 billion a year. The company employs more than 41,000 people and markets medicines in 158 countries.

Staff writer Kate Bissell can be reached at (703) 878-8068.

Similar Posts