By Derek R. Smith, Daily Reporter

  GREENFIELD - As Eli Lilly and Co. undergoes a restructuring of historic proportions, Elanco President Jeff Simmons has been reiterating to his employees how much Lilly will rely on Elanco in the coming years. 

    Now he says it's time for Elanco to deliver. 

    "We must have some of our best years over the next five years," Simmons said this morning in a phone interview. "It's great in uncertain times to have certainty. (Lilly's announcement) is a signal of certainty that Elanco is important." 

    Elanco is Lilly's animal health division. Greenfield has been home to Elanco's research and development teams since 1954 and has been the division's global headquarters since 2003. In 2008, Elanco had net sales of $1 billion, according to

    Lilly announced Monday Elanco will be one of five global business units in a Lilly reorganization designed to accelerate Lilly's development of medicines. Other business units are for cancer, diabetes, established markets and emerging markets. 

    Just one new Lilly product has received federal approval since 2005. That was the blood thinner Effient, which reached the market after an 18-month review by the Federal Drug Administration.

    Key Lilly products like the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa will lose patent protection starting in 2011, with three other drugs losing protection in 2013. Lilly CEO John Lechleiter believes the firm's best plan for profit growth involves focusing on its early and mid-stage drug candidates.

    Lilly plans to reduce its global workforce by 35,000 by the end of 2011 and cut its annual costs by $1 billion per year. Drug development and marketing will be more closely linked after the reorganization. 

    Elanco markets products in more than 75 countries and employs more than 2,000 people worldwide. It launched a companion animal business that produces products for dogs and cats in 2007.

    Elanco will continue to evaluate its headcount on an ongoing basis as the company assesses growth and productivity, Simmons said. 

    "We're going to assess if we can do more for Lilly in this period of time," he said. "We're going to assess how we can use services from Lilly more efficiently." 

    Elanco has about 360 local employees and has taken a more prominent role in the Greenfield community since Lilly sold its Greenfield laboratory to Covance last year. Construction work continues on the new Elanco headquarters just north of Interstate 70.

    Two focuses for Elanco going forward will be to "perform" and "transform", Simmons said.

    Perform involves continuing to be one of the fastest-growing companies in the animal health industry. Transform involves continuing to be innovative, looking at manufacturing costs and streamlining the supply chain, and growing and launching new businesses, he said.

    "We need some of our most innovative years to be the next few years," Simmons said.

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