Humulin N, NPH, human insulin (recombinant DNA origin) isophane suspension

Humulin N, NPH, human insulin (recombinant DNA origin) isophane suspension

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Humulin is human insulin used for treating diabetes. Prior to its development, diabetics used insulin isolated from pig and cow pancreases. Developed by Genentech, the first American biotechnology company, Humulin was licensed to Eli Lilly and became the first marketable product created through recombinant DNA technology. Its licensing by the FDA in October 1982 also made it the first recombinant pharmaceutical approved for use in the United States.
Recombinant pharmaceuticals are created by inserting genes from one species into a host species, often yeast or bacteria, where they do not naturally occur. The genes code for a desired product, and therefore the genetically modified host organisms can be grown and used as a kind of living factory to produce the product. In this case, genes coding for human insulin are inserted into bacteria. Bacteria produce insulin, which is harvested and used as the active ingredient in Humulin.
Humulin N is formulated to have a slower onset of action than regular insulin and a longer duration of activity (slightly less than 24 hours).
Object consists of a white cardboard box with black and red printing. Box contains two product inserts and one clear round glass bottle with an orange plastic cap and a white label. Bottle contains a pinkish substance suspended in a clear solution.
Currently not on view
Object Name
biological, human insulin
human insulin
date made
Eli Lilly and Company
place made
United States: Indiana, Indianapolis
Physical Description
human insulin (recombinant DNA origin) (drug active ingredients)
cardboard (container material)
paper (container material)
glass (container material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 1 5/16 in x 1 5/16 in; 6.985 cm x 3.33375 cm x 3.33375 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Eli Lilly and Company (through Carol Edgar)
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Biotechnology and Genetics
Recombinant Pharmaceuticals
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object