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Eli Lilly opens La Jolla biotech center

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. on Thursday opened a biotechnology center in La Jolla that will house nearly 200 of its scientists.

Work at the Lilly Biotechnology Center, which is located in the 450,000- square-foot Campus Pointe complex near UCSD, will focus mostly on discovering, engineering and conducting clinical trials on potential medicines for cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases, according to the company.

More than half of the scientists at the new center are from Applied Molecular Evolution, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly. Scientists from Discovery Chemistry Research and Technology, a division of Eli Lilly, will also work out of the center.

“The science, technology and talent at our new center in San Diego will help bring novel biotech medicines to patients faster and more efficiently, and reinforces Lilly’s commitment and contributions to San Diego’s burgeoning bioscience industry,’' said John Lechleiter, Eli Lilly’s chief executive officer.

Eli Lilly, which makes Cialis, Cymbalta, Prozac and nearly two dozen other drugs, is based in Indianapolis.