Lilly commits $92.5M to Purdue for drug research, scholarships

INDIANAPOLIS — In a significant expansion of their longstanding collaboration, Eli Lilly and Co. plans to give Purdue University $92.5 million for research on drug development and for undergraduate scholarships for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The two institutions announced the gifts Thursday morning, saying the funding will expand a longtime partnership.

The research program is a $50 million investment over five years to develop new models for delivering therapies to patients, with a focus on genetic medicine, pain drug delivery and targeted drug delivery using nanoparticles.

It’s an extension of an earlier five-year collaboration, announced in 2017, under which Lilly gave Purdue $50 million to learn more about the physiology of drug delivery and to develop technologies to improve delivery of pharmaceuticals for better patient outcomes.

The scholarship program will award full tuition to between 75 and 100 students each year for 10 years. The program, worth up to $42.5 million, will give priority to undergraduate students who are underrepresented in Purdue’s student population, have overcome socioeconomic or educational disadvantages or are among the first generation in their family to attend college.

The first scholarships will be offered for fall 2023. They will provide participating students internships at Lilly with preferred access and opportunities to compete for a role at the Indianapolis-based drugmaker following graduation, the two organizations said.

“Lilly is among Purdue’s most important partners, and this latest commitment reaffirms our longtime collaboration,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in written remarks. “… Lilly is investing in students very early in their education rather than waiting until late in their college careers–connecting to students before they even arrive on campus.”

Purdue and Lilly have a longstanding relationship, with close ties among their top leaders. Daniels worked as a senior executive as Lilly before serving eight years as Indiana governor.

Lilly’s CEO, David Ricks, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue in 1990. Today, Lilly employs nearly 2,500 Purdue graduates, more than from any other university.

For  more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.