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Lilly to pump in $700 million to boost insulin making capacity

(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said it will invest more than $700 million to boost its insulin manufacturing capacity in Puerto Rico, France, China and the United States.

The company's traditional stronghold has been its diabetes treatments, but the sales of its drugs have been suffering due to increasing competition from companies including Denmark's Novo Nordisk.

Diabetes is increasingly becoming a hard-to-win battle globally and, according to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people estimated to be living with the disease soared to a new record of 382 million this year.

Lilly said on Thursday it will invest $350 million in China, which already has the most diabetics globally and where the number is expected to rise to 142.7 million in 2035 from 98.4 million.

Lilly also said it plans to invest $120 million in France and $245 million in Puerto Rico and Indianapolis, Indiana to expand its insulin-active-ingredient and delivery device manufacturing.

The Indianapolis-based company has been cutting costs as some of its top-selling medicines lost patent protection and a slowing growth in emerging markets hurt results.

Shares of the company closed at $50.55 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)