Enabling Innovation

Unpacking the Urgent Need for Wet Lab Space in the Columbus Region

What is a Wet Lab?

A Wet Lab is a specialized laboratory space designed with unique features (equipment, ventilation, storage, etc.) to support cutting-edge life science research.


The Columbus Region is an emerging hub for cutting-edge research, with a major focus on life sciences and manufacturing and is at an inflection point that could decide its growth trajectory for years to come.


All 25 stakeholders we interviewed clearly indicated that wet lab space supply for private companies in the Columbus Region is effectively non-existent, and expressed serious concerns about the consequences this will have for future growth of the Region’s burgeoning life sciences sector and economy.


Although many jurisdictions across North America have been grappling with the low supply of wet lab space, several states have made encouraging progress in expanding wet lab investments, most successfully via a cohesive multi-sectoral strategy of direct funding coupled with policy changes to entice private sector investments.


The key recommendation of this study is that the Columbus Region needs to develop a coordinated, long-term strategy for wet lab space, which will ultimately require public-private partnerships; however, in the near term, interviewees provided recommendations on how the Region could plug the gap in wet lab supply for early-stage companies (e.g. partnering with groups like BioLabs).


By adapting proven approaches that bring together government, industry and academia around collaborative solutions, the Columbus Region can expand its limited supply of wet lab space and unlock the full potential of its life sciences hub and positively impact the Region’s economy.

“It would be a valuable addition to the Ohio bioecosystem to build more wet lab space, because it will allow more companies that are in satellite mode to actually jump in and go”

– Timothy Miller, CEO at Forge Biologics

This report was prepared by Shift Health.

This report was commissioned by Ohio Life Sciences, Rev1 Ventures, The Ohio State University, and One Columbus.

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