Manassas Journal Messenger | Lilly plant takes root

One year after Eli Lilly and Co. announced it was going to build a major manufacturing plant in Prince William County, the company broke ground Thursday on its $425 million insulin manufacturing center.

The company will build a 600,000 square-foot facility on 120 acres at [email protected] William. The $425 million investment includes hiring 700 employees with an average annual salary of $44,400.

“We are very happy and excited to be here. We have come a long way in the past year, growing from three to 70 employees that are housed in temporary modular buildings,” said Pat McGarrah, general manager for the county site.

“The ground breaking today is just the beginning … a milestone,” he added. “This is one of the top 10 economic projects ever undertaken in Virginia. Shortly, more than 1,000 contractors will be on the site, feeding the economy of the county. This is truly a win-win-win situation for Lilly, the county and patients on insulin worldwide.”

McGarrah said the cooperation he received from county officials, the quality of life offered in the area and the ability to attract and retain a skilled work force all entered into Lilly coming to the county.

The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2007.

Sean T. Connaughton, Prince William Board of County Supervisors’ chairman at large, said the coming of Lilly “is a symbol of great things to come for the county, giving it national and international recognition that the county is a premiere business location.”

Lilly is a pharmaceutical-based integrated health care company with sales of more than $11 billion each year. The Fortune 500 company was founded in 1876 and is headquartered in Indianapolis. Lilly employs more than 42,000 people worldwide, markets medicines in 158 countries and has major research and development facilities in nine countries.

The county facility will be the first manufacturing facility the company operates in the United States that is outside of Indiana, and will be used to develop the product Humulin, insulin identical to that produced by the human body, and Humalog, rapid-acting insulin for the treatment of diabetes.

“The Governor is pleased that Lilly has chosen Virginia for its world-class facility,” said Matt Erskine, deputy secretary of commerce and trade for Virginia who stood in for Gov. Mark R. Warner. “It represents a key component in Virginia’s effort to attract such high quality bio-tech firms.”

He said Lilly had considered more than 300 sites before picking the Prince William County.

With 16 million people in the U.S. and 140 million worldwide suffering from diabetes, “it is very important that we get the plant built as quickly as possible to assure we can provide the products the patients need,” said Pedro Granadillo, Lilly’s senior vice president.

But Scott Canute, vice president of global manufacturing, said construction will take time.

“Since we take the responsibility very seriously about the quality of our products, the building of our plant will be very complicated — thus the reason for it not being completed until 2007,” Canute said.

When completed, the plant will be a world class model and other firms “will be coming to Manassas to look at the site,” he added.

Staff writer Bennie Scarton Jr. can be reached at (703) 369-6707.

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