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Timelines: 1982

Prev : Next Humulin®


The world's first recombinant therapeutic product

Eli Lilly & Co. introduces Humulin® (recombinant human insulin). Humulin is the first bioengineered drug to reach the marketplace and pharmacy shelves. Genentech developed the molecule with recombinant DNA technology. The company’s scientists synthesized and cloned (i.e. copied) the gene that codes for human insulin, and placed it in E. coli bacteria. The bugs began to express and secrete the hormone, which was then harvested and purified. The Lilly company, which had pioneered the industrial production of pharmaceutical grade animal insulin in the 1920s, licensed the Genentech product, ushered it through clinical trials and the FDA approval process, manufactured it, and delivered to physicians and patients.


Building 98 houses the molecular biology unit at Eli Lilly & Company
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