Eli Lilly & Company

Uniting caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world.

Eli Lilly and Company has been in business for almost 140 years. The global, research-based company was founded in May 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the Midwestern section of the United States. A 38-year-old pharmaceutical chemist and a veteran of the U.S. Civil War, Colonel Lilly was frustrated by the poorly prepared, often ineffective medicines of his day. Consequently, he made these commitments to himself and to society:


  • He would found a company that manufactured pharmaceutical products of the highest possible quality.
  • His company would develop only medicines that would be dispensed at the suggestion of physicians rather than by travelling salesmen.
  • Lilly’s medicines would be based on the best science of the day.

  • Although his business flourished, Colonel Lilly was not satisfied with the traditional methods of testing the quality of his products. In 1886, he hired a young chemist to function as a full-time scientist, using and improving upon the newest techniques for quality evaluation. Together, they laid the foundation for the Lilly tradition: a dedication that first concentrated on the quality of existing products and later expanded to include the discovery and development of new and better medicines.

    The Lilly name is a promise. The red script, an evolved version of our founder’s signature, is a sign of our proud past and our exciting future. Our promise is simple: Lilly unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world.