''We discover new ways to bring life changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and provide support to individuals living with serious illness and the people who care for them."

For more than a century, we have worked tirelessly to discover medicines that make life better. From the development of insulin to the manufacture of the polio vaccine to the discovery of medicines that treat mental illness, we have developed breakthroughs against some of humanity's most stubborn and devastating diseases. We bring this same determination and ingenuity to our work today, uniting our expertise with the creativity of research partners across the globe to keep finding ways to make life better and better. Currently, we are working to develop life-changing medicines in therapeutic areas such as:

  • Autoimmune
  • Cardiovascular
  • Diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neuroscience
  • Oncology



Milestones in Medical Research

For more than 140 years Lilly South Africa's parent company, Eli Lilly & Company, has been at the forefront of significant medical breakthroughs. In the 1880s, Lilly was one of the first companies to start a pharmaceutical research programme by hiring a pharmaceutical chemist as its first scientist.


The research-based pharmaceutical industry is uniquely able to discover, develop, and produce lifesaving medicines for patients. To make the best use of our R&D investment and provide the greatest benefit to patients, we largely concentrate in therapeutic areas in which we have deep expertise, including diabetes, neuroscience, cardiovascular diseases, and oncology. We seek to develop pharmaceuticals that are "first-in-class" (i.e., creating a treatment where none existed) and/or "best-in-class" (i.e., improving on existing treatments). Here is how the process unfolds in the United States[1].

Lilly has a rich history of creating breakthrough products that enhance and preserve life. Today, our commitment to scientific research and development remains as strong as ever, and we've developed some innovative approaches that are helping us speed the creation of new medicines. Yet we recognize that the responsibilities we have go far beyond the laboratory.

[1] We have adapted the phase chart from PhRMA and supplemented it with cost data from a recently published article on R&D productivity: Paul S, Mytelka D, Dunwiddie C, et al. How to Improve R&D Productivity: The Pharmaceutical Industry's Grand Challenge . Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 2010; available from: doi:10.1038/nrd3078. Accessed October 25, 2011.