Seven industries are part of life sciences: pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; medical equipment and supplies manufacturing; scientific research and development services; veterinary services; ambulatory health care services; hospitals; and nursing and residential care facilities. All of these industries are represented in the Lexington community through businesses associated with Commerce Lexington.

In the Bluegrass Region and Kentucky, Lexington is a hub for the life sciences industry. By leveraging its culture of innovation and commercialization, a superior business climate, top ranked research programs at the University of Kentucky, and an expansion network of medical centers, Lexington provides an environment where any market niche of the life sciences industry can grow.

Paratech’s lab space, courtesy of Angelika Fath-Goodin.

Six major medical centers in Lexington support a strong base of health care providers, including Baptist Health LexingtonCHI Saint Joseph HealthShriner’s Hospitals for Children, and the UK Medical Center. The UK Healthcare System is an extensive network that includes four hospitals, over 80 specialized clinics, more than 140 outreach programs, a team of 9,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and health care workers, and six health professional colleges, serving over 650,000 outpatients and performing nearly 32,700 surgeries last year. The Lexington Clinic, a multi-specialty medical group with more than 25 locations throughout the Bluegrass Region, employs 200 physicians and provides services to more than 2,000 patients every day and 600,000 patients every year.

Lexington is blessed to have nationally recognized physicians and healthcare facilities as a part of our community. Fayette County is a major health care hub in Kentucky, with the second-most health care and social assistance establishments and employees in the state earning the fourth-highest wages. Direct patient care is a major employment industry in Lexington area, providing high-quality human capital for medical professionals. Over 19,480 people are employed as healthcare practitioners and technicians in Lexington with a mean annual wage of $75,910. Lexington boasts an above average concentration of healthcare practitioners and technicians with a location quotient of 1.20.

Biotechnology includes institutions involved with animal and plant science research and designing and manufacturing medical/veterinary products. Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, and Lexington is committed to fueling its growth in the Bluegrass. In fact, over 50 biotech companies have chosen to locate in Lexington.
Health care and biotechnology are supported by strong ties to academic programs at the University of Kentucky. UK has one of the nation’s top pharmacy programs (#6), ranks nationally in R&D expenditures, and ranked as a top-50 National Institute of Health (NIH) funded institution in 2019 with $71,365,353 through 125 awards. In addition, Lexington is home to the only research and development business park in the state of Kentucky – UK’s Coldstream Research Campus. Coldstream, a 735 acre office park, was specifically designed for recruiting high-tech and biotech companies, as well as university centers and start-ups.

Kentucky was once known for the abundance of hemp produced within the state and its expertise surrounding the plant with 50,000 uses. Today, all signs point to the state reestablishing itself as the national leader in industrial hemp production once again. Kentucky’s climate, soil, and proximity to major markets makes it the ideal location for hemp businesses. Companies in the Commonwealth have access to an abundant supply of growers, top universities pioneering research on the versatile crop, the agglomeration effects of a thriving hemp cluster, and to 65% of the U.S. personal income and population within a day’s drive. The Bluegrass Region, which contains the Lexington-Fayette MSA, has 34 processors compared to Louisville and Cincinnati’s 20 and 10 respectively. Not only does the Bluegrass lead the way in hemp processing, the area also consists of 110 licensed growers which is the most of the Central Kentucky metros.

Lexington focuses on three segments of the life sciences industry:

  • Plant and Genetic Engineering
  • Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol
  • Medical Application Technology
  • Medical Device Manufacturing

Click here to read Commerce Lexington’s Life Sciences and Biotech White Paper.

Check out our BIO Brochure by clicking here.

To learn more about industrial hemp in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region, click here.