The Eli Lilly Company Carries On its Near-100-Year History with Diabetes

Few companies are as inextricably linked with a specific medical breakthrough as Eli Lilly and Company is with mass-produced insulin. Officials from the company met with University of Toronto scientists working on insulin in 1922, and the next year, it began selling commercially available insulin to diabetes sufferers nationwide. According to Lilly’s biography, published in 2006 by James H. Madison, insulin, "the most important drug" in the company’s history, did "more than any other" to make Lilly "one of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world.”

That’s nearly a hundred years of history with the ailment, and Eli Lilly and Company is still out in front knocking over barriers to care. This time, it’s type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, and Eli Lilly and Company is offering up $1.8 million to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leading global organization working on T1D research.

This particular project emphasizes the challenges that come with a T1D diagnosis: Even with management, individuals with T1D spend parts of each day with very high blood sugar and very low blood sugar, putting them at risk later in life for heart attack, stroke, blindness, and amputation. All that, plus getting acquainted with a whole slew of new daily routines, such as regular blood sugar checks, can be overwhelming, so JDRF puts its resources into initiatives like Bag of Hope, which distributes packets of information, tools, and resources to families with a newly diagnosed T1D child, and TypeOneNation Summits, which stage networking and educational events for people living with T1D and their families and friends.

“JDRF is extremely grateful to Lilly Diabetes for making life better for people living with diabetes,” said Margo K. Lucero, senior vice president of corporate and international development. “Lilly has been a valued partner of JDRF and through its generous support and collaboration, we are moving closer to our goal of creating a world without type 1 diabetes.”

“The programs and resources JDRF offers families — starting with the moment of diagnosis — are so important,” said Jackie Giovanoni, Lilly Diabetes global director of advocacy and professional relations. “The responsibility of diabetes care can be overwhelming and JDRF is there to help. We are proud to support the organization in its efforts to reach even more families in the coming years.”