Eli Lilly & Co. said on Wednesday it may cut 500 jobs as the company makes more efficient manufacturing operations in Indianapolis, its home city.

The drug-maker group will offer a voluntary exit program that will affect manufacturing employees mainly but will also include a small portion in selected areas of research and development. The company will take charge associated with the job cuts in the second quarter.

``There are a couple of drivers for the cuts: our recently announced decision to terminate AIR insulin and improvements in how we manufacture allow us to meet the demand with lower numbers,'' said Edward Sagebiel a spokesman of Lilly in an interview with Bloomberg.

Last March 7 the company decided to stop the development of its inhaled insulin AIR moved that prompted the cut of 150 jobs and close a plant in Chelsea.

Lilly has cut its global work force by about 12 percent or the equivalent to 5,500 people since mid-2004.

Shares of Eli Lilly & Co. were up 1.94 percent to close at $52.55 on Wednesday in the New York Stock Exchange.