Scientific Areas of Interest

What's under the microscope, and beyond.

The discovery of new medicines is about being relentless. You will gain access to Lilly development team with decades of experience dedicated to exploring every avenue necessary.

We never stop searching for:

  • Medicines that are novel, tailored and differentiated from the current standard of care.
  • New ways to address unmet medical needs.
  • Treatments, therapies, technologies and devices that generate better outcomes for payers, providers, prescribers and patients.

And it's all done with a true sense of urgency, ensuring our medicines reach patients as soon as possible.

Neither the content nor any other service presented here is intended to be relied on for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Oncology

    At Lilly Oncology, we seek to pursue first-in-Class/ best-in-class standard-of-care changing therapies and regimens through novel targets, next generation immunotherapies and by building rational combinations that overcome resistance.

    Our greatest interests lies in novel assets in the following areas:

    • Novel agents targeting tumor dependencies in molecularly enriched populations
    • Immuno-oncology approaches focusing on T-cell activation/expansion, T-cell redirection, other Immune cell activation/expansion, cytokine biology
    • Novel modalities that effectively target tumors and /or activate the immune system (e.g. heteromabs, cellular therapies)
    • Novel agents that addresses resistance mechanisms
  • Neuroscience

    Neurodegenerative Diseases

    • Novel therapeutic approaches for disease modification in neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
    • Novel treatments that address the symptoms of neurodegenerative disease including psychosis, cognitive impairment, agitation, mood and sleep
    • Blood-based biomarkers for early detection of amyloid-positive dementia
    • Wearable technologies and smartphone applications for early detection of Alzheimer's disease initiation and progression

    Pain and Migraine The Lilly Pain Team seek to develop safe, non-addicting, medicines for patients with serious chronic pain that transform the standards of care. Our greatest areas of interest lie in the following areas:

    • Novel approaches to treat chronic neuropathic, musculoskeletal and visceral pain
    • Novel treatments for migraine and other forms fo disabling headache
    • Approaches to treat pain that modulate the underlying drivers of the pathological pain (e.g. disease modification)
    • Prevention or reversal of pain chronification

    Out of scope: Opioids, devices, surgical interventions

  • Diabetes and Related Complications

    Insulins and Glucagon:

    • Next-generation insulins (basal, ultra-rapid, high-concentration, thermostable)
    • Glucose-responsive/sensing insulin and glucose-responsive/-sensing glucagon


    • Differentiated long-acting or orally delivered incretins or incretin combinations
    • Orally delivered incretin receptor agonists


    • Novel approaches relevant to the development of an artificial pancreas
    • Breakthrough diabetes device technology
    • Oral peptide/protein delivery platforms and therapeutics (including ingestible devices)

    Novel Diabetes Disease Modifiers:

    • Pathways and mechanisms that enable breakthrough weight loss
    • Pathways and mechanisms that improve beta-cell health with potential to impacet diabetes progression or induce remission
    • Novel insulin sensitizing mechanisms

    Diabetic Complications:

    • Heart failure: Novel mechanisms that can be used in conjunction with the existing and emerging standard of care to provide breakthrough efficacy in HFrEF and/or HFpEF Areas of focus include targets that impinge on cardiac substrate utilization and metabolism, remodeling and vascular health.
    • Diabetic kidney disease/chronic kidney disease: Pathways and mechanism that can be used in conjunction with existing and emerging standard of care to provide breakthrough efficacy in CKD/DKD. Areas of focus include targets related to inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (hemodynamic), remodeling and alteration of tissue metabolism.
    • NASH: clinical programs only, unless evidence for additional metbolic benefits.
    • Diabetic dyslipidermia with MACE benefits: Agents that have beneficial effects on multiple lipid/vascular risk factors such as triglyceride, LDL-C and Lp(a).

    Novel Platforms:

    • RNA-based therapies applied to targets in Diabetes and cell-based therapy (e.g., T1DM, heart failure).

    Other Areas:

    • Type 1 Diabetes immunotherapy
    • Diabetic Neuropathy remediation/Neuropathic pain (intersects with our Pain therapeutic area).

    Out of Scope:

    • Insulin secretagogues with no added metabolic benefits
    • Wound healing
    • Gastroparesis
    • Anticoagulants
    • Acute myocardial infarction/ischemia-reperfusion therapies
    • Acute/ischemic stroke
    • Arrhythmia
    • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Immunology

    The immunology platform’s mission is to address unmet medical needs with best-in-disease or best-in-class medicines and to deliver unparalleled customer experiences—with a strong focus on small molecule and biologics in the following indications:

    Indications in Scope:

    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Psoriasis
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Ankylosing spondylitis
    • Psoriatic arthritis
    • Lupus nephritis
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Fibrosis

    Technologies in Scope:

    • Interested in small molecule NMEs with biologic efficacy, and no increased safety risk
    • Microbiome
    • Antibodies that have a durable MOA with a greatly improved clinical efficacy over standard of care
    • Nanoparticles for use in tolerance

    Out of Scope:

    • Biosimilars
  • Emerging Technology and Innovation

    The Emerging Technology and Innovation team complements therapeutic area-specific external research efforts by providing distinct geographic coverage plus access to novel pathways and new therapeutic modalities. We specialize in connecting partners to Lilly expertise and deploying flexible funding models. The team is comprised of experienced drug discovery and development scientists based in Cambridge, MA, Indianapolis, IN, South San Francisco, CA and United Kingdom and Japan.

    New opportunities of interest include pan-therapeutic and adjacent disease areas (as well as added support for Lilly’s core therapeutic areas). We are committed to collaboration with premier universities, investigators and companies around the world to advance innovation, enhance Lilly’s pipeline and improve patient outcomes.

    Novel Biologic Pathways: Emphasis on those with multi-therapeutic area potential and emerging novel targets.

    • Examples include: ribosomal control of protein expression, micro-RNA; exosome biology; epigenetics

    Disruptive Technologies:

    • New therapeutic modalities (including but not limited to, oligonucleotide-based approaches, gene editing, gene therapy, microbiome, cell-based approaches)
    • Novel approaches to “drug” difficult targets (e.g., small molecule RNA inhibitors, cell-penetrant peptide platforms, protein degradation/stabilizers)

    Adjacent Disease Areas:

    • Examples include: fibrosis, kidney disease, other disorders of immune function, broader neurological conditions

    Alternative Funding and Partnering Models: This team has expertise in—and access to—flexible funding models for advancing exciting science.

    • Strategic limited partnerships in world-class venture funds. These funds work with scientific and business leaders to advance breakthrough innovation. A key strategy involves early development funding and co-funding opportunities (emphasis on leveraging Lilly’s Chorus* organization)
    • Direct equity investments in selected biotechnology companies
    • “Build-to-buy” investments
    • Other “shared-risk” drug discovery and early development relationships
    • Chorus* is a fully integrated early stage drug development team whose scope includes IND-enabling preclinical studies through Phase 2 development. Chorus specializes in delivery of rapid, efficient and cost–effective clinical proof-of-concept results. The team has extensive experience in developing externally derived molecules in partnership with selected VC firms (including HealthCare Ventures, TVM Capital, Atlas Ventures).
  • Biotechnology Discovery Research

    Collaborative Research

    ? The Lilly Biotechnology Discovery Research groups in Indianapolis and San Diego are seeking academic and biotechnology partners interested in leveraging our protein discovery, engineering and formulation/delivery capabilities to advance research on novel therapeutic targets and pathways into clinical translation. With our ability to create a large molecule diversity via robust antibody and peptide discovery technologies, a collaboration with Biotechnology Discovery Research allows for the rigorous interrogation and validation of novel targets. The integration of our engineering and formulation/delivery capabilities allow pursuit of multi-parameter optimization to solve key issues with pharmacology, drugability and down-stream developability spanning traditional scaffolds to next-generation multi-functionals. These varied scaffolds (including peptides, antibodies, hormones, cytokines and enzymes) have successfully been applied to a broad range of clinical targets.

    Biotherapeutic Discovery and Validation: ? Antibody discovery and antibody screening platforms ? Bi-specific/multi-functional platforms ? Alternative antibody scaffolds ? Protein engineering ? Translational cell-based platforms ? iPS cell differentiation ? Vascular endothelial cell biology

    Biotherapeutic Optimization: ? Protein expression and production technologies ? Protein purification processes ? Glycosylation ? Peptide chemistry – Semi-synthetic or recombinant – Non-natural amino acid incorporation ? Protein:protein interaction inhibitors – Macrocyclic peptides ? Peptide/protein drug conjugates - Novel linker and conjugation chemistries ? Site-specific chemical modification ? Time extension of antibodies, peptides and proteins ? Biophysical analysis ? Mass spectrometry data analysis tools ? Characterization of particle mass, composition and morphology ? High resolution protein structure ? Automated and low volume formats for existing biophysical techniques ? Protein colloidal stability and protein-protein interactions at high concentration

    Biotherapeutic Formulation and Delivery: ? Oral peptide and protein delivery ? Permeation enhancers ? Receptor-mediated transcytosis ? Nanotechnologies ? Crossing the blood-brain barrier and capillary endothelial barrier ? Modulating pericellular junctions ? Formulation design ? Excipients, co-formulations, nanotechnologies ? Stabilization of high concentration formulations ? Devices

  • Delivery, Devices, and Connected Solutions

    Our greatest interests lie in device, delivery, and connected solutions for Diabetes, Alzheimer's, Immunology, Pain, and Oncology, with a specific focus in the following areas:

    Drug Delivery Systems ? Needle-free delivery technologies ? Device technologies, including body-worn devices, to rapidly deliver high-volume (>2ml) and/or high-viscosity (>10 cpd) biologic solutions ? Technologies for improving the user injection experience ? Tissue-targeted delivery systems (e.g. lymphatic delivery, delivery across blood brain barrier) ? Delivery of nucleotide and gene therapies ? Multi-use devices ? Oral delivery of large molecular weight compounds

    Connected Product Systems ? Connected drug delivery devices and point-of-care diagnostics ? Next-generation subsystems including miniaturized electronics, batteries/power management systems, computing, and communication ? Products or technologies to enable subcutaneous insulin infusion sites to remain viable for extended periods of time ? Novel biosensing technologies, minimally invasive sensing, and digital biomarker platforms (that are directly applicable to the disease states above) ? Personalized, prescriptive algorithms/machine learning for disease management that could be incorporated into mobile medical apps and/or clinical decision support ? Connected primary and secondary packaging

    Biologic Delivery ? Formulation technology to reduce viscosity and/or enhance stability of biologics ? Preservation technology to enable multi-use biological preps ? Technologies to increase concentration of proteins

  • Chorus

  • Discovery Chemistry Research and Technologies

    Discovery Chemistry Research & Technologies (DCRT) invents and discovers new small molecules that can become medicines. These molecules must have the right characteristics to test innovative therapeutic hypotheses and be differentiated from those of our competitors. To achieve this, DCRT partners with all therapeutic areas within Lilly to choose the right biological targets whose manipulation may lead to positive patient outcomes. DCRT brings together many different scientific disciplines to design, prepare, and select the best molecular scaffolds for optimization, with the ultimate goal of delivering a single molecule that has the best combination of attributes to be tested in the clinic.

    Molecule Design & Identification:

    • In silico & related technologies, including artificial intelligence/machine learning for novel drug discovery
    • Novel Analytical methodologies & instrumentation to improve efficiency
    • Complementary chemical diversity
    • DNA-encoded libraries
    • Oral strategies for high MW molecules
    • Protein: Protein interaction inhibitors and inhibitors of protein misfolding
    • Protein degradation methodology

    Biological Testing:

    • CRISPR Platforms (CRISPR Library's, Screening Platforms, Genome editing in cell culture and animal (knockout/knock-in))
    • 2D/3D Organoid technologies
    • Platforms for measuring covalent drug-target occupancy and drug (ligand) binding residence times
    • Novel human disease-relevant in vitro cell-based assays
    • Novel biological targets & assay approaches,including protein translation
    • Cell imaging and analytical biosensor platforms for elucidating MOA
    • Chemoinformatics techniques (analytical, biophysical, biochemical, chemical probes)
  • Lilly-San Diego Collaborative Research

    The Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego (LBC-SD) is seeking academic and biotechnology partners interested in leveraging our protein discovery and engineering capabilities to advance research on novel therapeutic targets and pathways into clinical translation. With our ability to create a large molecule diversity via robust antibody and peptide discovery technologies, a collaboration with LBC-SD allows the rigorous interrogation and validation of novel targets. Our engineering capabilities allow pursuit of flexible strategies of multi-parameter optimization to solve key issues with pharmacology, drugability and down-stream developability spanning traditional scaffolds to next-generation multifunctionals. These varied scaffolds (including antibodies, hormones, cytokines and enzymes) have successfully been applied to a broad range of clinical targets.

  • Digital Health

    Our greatest interests lie in exploring the adoption of digital technologies both as novel therapeutic modalities and also towards the advancement of translational research. The adoption of digital technologies in the context of care management is an additional area of focus.

    Therapeutic areas of interest include cardio-metabolic disease, neuro-degenerative disease, immunology, pain and oncology. Areas of specific interest include:

    Improved Diagnoses/Health System Entry:

    • Biomarkers for Identifying Conditions: this includes the use of wearables/sensors and accompanying apps to generate hypothesis and correlate to specific diseases/co-morbidities
    • Analytics platforms, including novel algorithms and deep learning techniques, for the development and optimization of actionable insights for personalized disease management
    • Apps/services supporting patient diagnosis

    Treatment & Support:

    • Digital Therapeutic Modalities: used as standalone regulated treatment modalities or as adjuncts to drug therapy; we are interested in exploring non-regulated solutions as well
    • Right therapy at the right time:
    • Connected Devices: this includes devices for measuring specific biomarkers, consumer devices leveraged for health care applications, drug delivery devices (connected and standalone) and packaging
    • Patient-facing Apps/Interfaces: this includes apps for Disease Awareness: (logbooks, education tools), Disease Management: (digital therapies, treatment algorithms, wellness partnerships), Drug Companion: (dose tracking, timing, drug refills, dosing algorithms, biomarkers for monitoring, connected sensors/delivery device APIs) and social platforms/communities
    • Clinical Decision Support tools for providers: this includes platforms used for population health, risk stratification and personalization of recommendations to individual patients
    • Patient-facing Support: coaching, financial counseling, access and disease support resources

    Research Platforms:

    • Clinical Trial/Real World Evidence platforms: registries for clinical trial participation, integration with third party data sources, EHR integration
    • Health System Digitization Platforms: Solutions enabling efficient health care delivery, democratization of health data access to the patient and their methods for interacting with the health system