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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Eli Lilly will build a $2.1 billion expansion in Lebanon.

The pharmaceutical giant announced it’ll build two side-by-side factories to make ingredients and new medications for diabetes, obesity, and cancer treatments. CEO Dave Ricks says the facility will give Lilly a facility close to its Indianapolis headquarters, with the ability to produce cutting-edge gene therapies and advanced biologics.

Ricks says Lilly itself doesn’t know right now what those future medications may be. But he says the company can’t wait for the research and approval process to be complete before expanding capacity. He says Lilly’s Indianapolis facilities aren’t equipped for those new technologies, while the company’s plant in Ireland doesn’t have room to grow. Ricks says the Lebanon site allows the company to build a plant from scratch to meet those needs,.

The complex is expected to be the first tenant of Lebanon’s new Innovation and Research District, a state-owned complex aimed at attracting similar high-tech facilities by exploiting the area’s easy access to Indianapolis, Purdue, and I-65. Indiana Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers says the state is completing land acquisition for the site and awaiting local zoning approvals this summer.

Ricks says the new complex will create 500 jobs. The announcement comes a month after Ricks warned in a speech to the Economic Club of Indiana that Indiana’s shortage of college-educated workers and its poor performance on measures of residents’ health threatens the state’s ability to grow its economy. Ricks says he stands by that critique, but says he’s confident Lilly can meet its manpower needs. He credits Governor Holcomb, state legislators, and nonprofit groups with taking those health and education issues seriously and working toward solutions.

Ricks expects construction to take three or four years.