Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2006 (Revised July 2008)

Eli Lilly: Developing Cymbalta

by Elie Ofek and Ron Laufer


Anticipating the expiration of its Prozac patent, Eli Lilly has to make tough decisions regarding the development of its next-generation antidepressant drug. In particular, the company needs to decide whether to first establish that once-a-day dosing for Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is effective in treating major depressive disorder and only after launch get FDA approval for treating painful physical symptoms, or to first establish efficacy in treating pain and later get FDA approval for once-a-day dosing. The decision needs to take into account how Cymbalta can be differentiated in the marketplace vis-à-vis other antidepressants and the marketing challenges to getting adoption that the new drug will face. Lilly's new antidepressant team making this decision has several market research inputs on physicians and patients at its disposal.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Development; Research and Development; Pharmaceutical Industry;


Ofek, Elie, and Ron Laufer. "Eli Lilly: Developing Cymbalta." Harvard Business School Case 507-044, November 2006. (Revised July 2008.)