Highland Heights life sciences employer plans to triple space and create 200 full-time jobs

Northern Kentucky’s life sciences sector will continue growing in 2023 and beyond as one of its biggest employers in that field plans a major expansion. Thermo Fisher Scientific plans to create 200 full-time jobs with a $59 million expansion of the company’s clinical research lab in Highland Heights.

Nearly 650 people are already employed at the location, where they handle clinical testing of pharmaceuticals.

The company says it will expand and renovate its lab on Tesseneer Drive, adding 43,000 square feet to provide increased testing of pharmaceutical products. The project will bring the total available space in the facility to more than 114,000 square feet. Company leaders say they expect to begin construction by the end of the first quarter of next year and complete the project in stages by the end of 2024.

New jobs created will include Ph.D.-level scientists, analytical laboratory staff, and other scientific professionals.

The lab was part of the clinical research business of PPD, Inc., a global provider of clinical research that has operated in Northern Kentucky since 2002. Thermo Fisher acquired the company in December 2021 for $17.4 billion. Its staff has conducted clinical trials in more than 100 countries. Thermo Fisher Scientific is a $40 billion life sciences company based near Boston in Waltham, Mass.

Its growth here will have a ripple effect in the local economy, says Highland Heights Mayor Greg Meyers. “The expansion is great news for the many retail and service businesses in our city and the entire Cincinnati region,” he says.

The project will contribute to the rapid growth of the life sciences sector in the region. In the five-year period from 2014 to 2019, life sciences employment in Northern Kentucky grew 82% to about 1,000 people, an analysis by economic development agency Tri-ED found.

The sector, which includes companies in biomedical research, gene and cell therapy and medical device manufacturing is expected to grow another 30% locally by 2025, says Tri-ED CEO Lee Crume.

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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.