Eli Lilly and Company

     News of this miracle drug spread like wildfire, and diabetics rushed to be treated, clinging to hopes of relief.
     To meet the growing demand, U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company was given insulin manufacturing rights. Lisa E. Bayne, Senior Archivist at Eli Lilly and Company states:

     Insulin would have remained nothing more than a breakthrough in theory, or at best, a treatment for a privileged few, had Lilly not found a way to manufacture the drug on a very large scale. Animal insulin was the first effective drug to treat patients with diabetes. In fact, insulin was the first life-saving drug in the world.
In the early 1980s, Lilly brought human insulin to the market. It was the world's first product human insulin and the first product made from recombinant DNA technology. Since then, we have further improved human insulin, offered better ways of administering it to patients, brought products to market that can delay the need for insulin in people with adult-onset diabetes, and studied new treatments for complications of the disease. We continue to search for a cure for diabetes, building on what we have learned and through partnerships with other companies as we have done since we introduced the first commercial insulin in 1923. (Bayne)

An advertisement for Lilly Insulin (McCormick)

     Insulin continued to become purified, and long lasting types were created to reduce the number of daily injections. Biosynthetic Insulin, introduced in 1983, eliminates the need for animal pancreases (Yuwiler 69-70). Synthesized insulin eliminates potential allergic reactions. Most insulins today are chemically identical to natural human insulin (Davidson). Though insulin is the most common option, new treatments include drugs that stimulate beta cells in the pancreas to release more insulin, decrease glucose production in the liver, or make muscles more responsive to insulin (Davidson). However, none of these advancements would be possible without insulin.