Lechleiter moved up through Lilly quickly:
Lechleiter received a bachelor of science degree summa cum laude in chemistry from Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1975. He studied organic chemistry as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Harvard University, where he received his master’s and doctorate degrees. Joining Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development, Lechleiter became head of that department in 1982. In 1984, he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England.