Accelerated Growth in Central Ohio’s Life Sciences Industry

How Columbus is cementing its lead in the Ohio life sciences

By Deb Scherer / December 4, 2023

Image of a baby on a hospital bed at Nationwide Children's Hospital

What’s happening in Columbus, Ohio is nothing short of a miracle of life science. Over the past few years, the Columbus Region has become one of the top emerging hubs for bioscience researchers, with Ohio State University ranking in the top 10 nationally for industry-sponsored research. Since 2018, more than 8,700 students have graduated from OSU with biomedical science, chemistry, and pharmacy degrees, while the school holds a top 10 ranking for most biological science degree completions according to CBRE.

A bevy of healthcare and pharmaceutical investments and $306 million in venture capital funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2022 have made the Columbus Region one of the fastest-growing life science markets in the United States. Here are just a few of the successes the Region has garnered for the Ohio life sciences.

Proof of Concept in the Ohio Life Sciences

Surrounded by four world-renowned healthcare systems including Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Columbus Region offers a life sciences ecosystem unlike few other cities. Drug manufacturers, integrated packaging solutions providers and high-performance systems fabricators have all taken note of the Region’s potential for industry-wide growth.

  • Gene Therapy manufacturer Andelyn Biosciences is leading the way by successfully turning research into viable patient treatments. The company spun off from Nationwide Children’s hospital in 2020 and has since built three facilities — dropping its production time from several years to less than twelve months.
  • In 2022, California-based vitamin and supplement manufacturer Pharmavite LLC invested more than $200 million to build an over 200,000-square-foot facility. The company plans to finalize its expansion by 2024, creating 225 new jobs as part of the investment.
  • Life science product serialization and validation company Ultimate Solutions also grew its operations in the Region in 2022 with an investment upward of $300,000. The company, based in Puerto Rico, chose Central Ohio as the soil to deepen its domestic roots because of its growing life science cluster and deep experience in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries.
  • Earlier this year, Ohio-based Lake Shore Cryotronics announced it would nearly double its existing 59,000-square-foot facility with 42,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 10,000 square feet of office space. Lake Shore manufactures sensors and scientific instruments that can operate at cryogenically low temperatures and in the presence of magnetic fields. The company’s products have been useful in fields ranging from space exploration to the development of future technologies.

Image of a worker in the Lake Shore Cryotronics lab

A Complex Strand of Amenities

Columbus’ growth in the state of Ohio’s life sciences industry stems from several factors. Whether it’s Fortune 15 integrated healthcare providers like Cardinal Health or clinical research and pharmaceutical distribution companies, the Region fosters robust collaboration and partnership potential for life sciences companies and industry players.

Infrastructure development is key to sustained growth in the Ohio life sciences industry, and Columbus is a committed hub for drug treatment and other therapeutic amenities. Ohio State University Innovation District is a transformative $1.1 billion joint effort between the university, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and JobsOhio that embodies a spirit of life science collaboration.

The Interdisciplinary Research Facility (IRF) opened its doors in June 2023, encompassing 305,000 square feet across five floors. While currently focused on cell and gene therapy, the facility is committed to breaking down traditional silos in the biomedical and life sciences industry growth, facilitating partnerships that bridge the gap between researchers and specialists in engineering, physics, public health, social work and AI.

Pharmaceutical companies are also finding new efficiencies to ship temperature-sensitive products. A new, 9,600 square-foot cold storage facility opened at the air cargo-focused Rickenbacker International Airport in 2023 which includes the capacity for pallet-sized X-ray screening. With its connectivity to Germany and other European Union countries, Rickenbacker airport is enhancing global outreach and trade capabilities — making Columbus an attractive destination for biotech businesses.

Meanwhile, workforce development programs play a crucial role in building partnerships between top-tier academic institutions, private industry and community. Initiatives like Columbus State Community College’s Pharma Manufacturing and Biomanufacturing Bootcamp provide invaluable training and education, equipping professionals with the skills to thrive in the ever-evolving life sciences industry.

Balancing collaboration, available funding for research, and a constant reserve of talent, the Columbus Region accelerates growth in the Ohio life sciences. Contact us to find the perfect ecosystem to broaden your business’ impact globally.

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