Eli Lilly has officially opened a new state-of-the-art biotechnology centre in San Diego, US.

The new centre is located within an extensive hub of life science activity near the University of California, San Diego and other prominent biomedical research institutes.

Work at the new biotechnology centre will focus mostly on discovery, engineering and conducting Phase I and II clinical trials on potential biologic medicines, with an emphasis on cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.

Lilly chairman and chief executive officer John Lechleiter said that the company was moving full speed ahead toward building a biotechnology powerhouse.

“The science, technology and talent at our new centre in San Diego will help bring novel biotech medicines to patients faster and more efficiently,” Lechleiter said.

More than half of the 200 scientists based at the centre will form part of Lilly’s Applied Molecular Evolution, a wholly owned Lilly subsidiary to engineer and develop biotechnology-based therapies built specifically from human proteins.

Also based at the centre will be scientists from discovery chemistry research and technology, a division within Lilly that includes scientists from what was previously known as SGX Pharmaceuticals.