Medical Research & Healthcare

Built on Firsts

The Cincinnati region has a strong record of firsts in medical research and healthcare. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), ranked No. 3 among the best pediatric hospitals in the nation for 2020-21 by U.S. News & World Report, traces its roots back to 1884.

In the 1950’s, Albert Sabin, MD, head of pediatric research at Cincinnati Children’s and University of Cincinnati, developed the oral polio vaccine, which played a key role in nearly eradicating polio. The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is the second-oldest public college of medicine in the United States.

Many other recognizable and widely-used treatments and protocols, including the development of Benadryl and the FAST (F-face, A-arm, S-speech, T-time) method for identifying signs of a stroke, were developed at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Innovation & Technology the Focus for the Future

In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare recently opened a state-of-the-art $130 million cancer hospital that will bring in more treatments for patients in Kentucky, helping the region become healthier with a longer life expectancy. St. Elizabeth also funded and supplied the Simulation Center at the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Kentucky University to help prepare an educated workforce with hands-on experience.

Leveraging the expertise in the region, a targeted cancer therapy platform and treatment developed by Bexion Pharmaceuticals in Covington has completed a multi-site first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial. More than 2 million human tissue cancer non-cancer specimens are housed at the Biospecimen Repository at the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory.

The largest COVID-19 test processor in the state of Kentucky, Gravity Diagnostics calls Covington home and is expanding to a second location. Gravity partnered with the state of Kentucky and Kroger Health to provide results from drive-through testing in 2020. It provides testing to colleges and nursing homes throughout the U.S. Newport-based Ethos Laboratories has developed a test to identify biomarkers in the chemistry of chronic pain so that individuals suffering chronic pain can be given treatment methods other than opiates – which would reduce addiction rates.

CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services is a global, privately held, full-service contract research organization (CRO), with global headquarters in Covington, was recently named the #1 CRO in the world for quality at the 2020 CRO Leadership Awards. CTI is managing more than 40 active COVID-19 trials for treatment and prevention.

In addition to a range of CLIA-certified laboratories, cancer research, drug trial management companies and biomanufacturers, Northern Kentucky is home to manufacturers and distribution centers in the biotech, pharmaceutical, optical and medical device industries.


  • NKY Right to WorkIdeal for Talent: The Cincinnati region is the #1 best city in the nation for college graduates.  (Source: SmartAsset 2021) With 13 four-year colleges and universities located within a 45-minute commute of Northern Kentucky and more than 35,000 postsecondary graduates each year, the region has educated and available talent.
  • Cost: Northern Kentucky is part of Greater Cincinnati, which was named the #1 most cost-friendly location in the United States. There is an estimated 11.3% cost savings for R&D operations compared to the national average, and 4.8% cost savings for manufacturing compared to the national average. (Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives Report, 2016)
  • Location: The Cincinnati region and Northern Kentucky are the #1 location in the country for population served within one day’s drive. (Source: Claritas, 2018)


With a labor shed of over 1.1 million people and more than 10,000 people currently employed in food, R&D, processing, and manufacturing, Northern Kentucky offers both professional and production workers to supply the food and flavoring industries. Northern Kentucky also offers a comparable, if not lower, labor cost compared to other metros in the U.S.

Major Companies – See them on a map

Manufacturing Medical Research & Biotechnology
ABB Labs Bexion Pharmaceuticals
Carl Zeiss Vision bioLOGIC
Thermo Fischer Scientific, Inc. Ethos Laboratories
Laboratory Equipment Gravity Diagnostics
Analytical Solutions and Providers (ASAP) PPD Global Central Labs
Andritz Separation Inc. ViaCord
Beckman Coulter Wood Hudson Cancer Research
Headquarters & Office Healthcare Providers
CompMed OrthoCincy
CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services St. Elizabeth Healthcare & Physicians The Christ Hospital Physicians
Protech Home Medical Corp. UC Health Physicians