September 27, 2023 1:20 am
Covington Life Sciences Partners announces new research and development lab at OneNKY Center

Covington Life Sciences Partners, Inc. (CLSP), a non-profit corporation established in November 2022, was founded to advance science, education, entrepreneurism, and job creation in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region.

CLSP has announced the Covington Life Science Lab, funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, will be located in 15,000 square feet on the second floor of the OneNKY Center to be built by the Northern Kentucky Port Authority (NKPA).

“This milestone is the result of a tremendous amount of cooperation among Governor Beshear, Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, Senator McDaniel and the leaders of life sciences companies in Northern Kentucky,” said CLSP Co-Chair Chuck Scheper, chairman of the board of Bexion Pharmaceuticals. “Having a state-of-the-art wet lab in Covington will be a strong asset, in addition to the SBIR-STTR match that Kentucky offers, in attracting entrepreneurs and biotech companies to Northern Kentucky.”

The Covington Life Science Lab will provide cost-effective research and development facilities with shared equipment and office space for early-stage companies, in addition to offering educational and training opportunities, in the life sciences industry. Locating the lab in the OneNKY Center enhances operational capabilities while reducing key risks and challenges and meeting a tight construction deadline. The CLSP has signed a 99-year lease with the NKPA for $12M and remaining funds will be used for fit out and equipment. Payments will be made to the NKPA as construction milestones are achieved.

“It’s exciting to see this project move forward with collaboration from business and government leaders,” said CLSP Co-chair Garren Colvin, president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “If Northern Kentucky is going to be one of the healthiest regions in the country, we need to have businesses that are poised for future growth–like biotechnology–and access to improved healthcare. This project is advancing both.”

“The Covington Life Science Lab will build on Covington’s growing reputation as a hub for high-tech advancements in this critical sector, and it will bring to fruition our vision when we started this process two years ago,” said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. “Companies like Bexion, CTI, and Gravity Diagnostics are wowing the world, and we hope this lab will help many other new companies along that same path.”

“The new incubation lab in Covington will put our region on the map in the life sciences industry and enhance our biotech and biopharma research and development ecosystem,” said CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services CEO Tim Schroeder. “From Mayor Meyer’s initial vision for this endeavor, to Governor Beshear’s enthusiastic personal support after seeing NKY healthcare and life science companies step up during the COVID pandemic, to Senator McDaniel’s go big mindset putting us at the cutting edge of research, we have been able to watch this transformative project emerge. This location is mere blocks from CTI’s global headquarters, and we look forward to many fruitful collaborations.”

Renderings of OneNKY Center courtesy of Phoenix Architecture.

Mayor Meyer and the City of Covington led the effort to secure funding for a new biotech lab that was identified by leading life science companies CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, Gravity Diagnostics, and Bexion Pharmaceuticals. These companies grew significantly over the last several years and collectively employ nearly 1,000 talented professionals in the life sciences industry and expressed the need for the lab is urgent.

As a result of the collaboration between the City of Covington and life science company leaders, Governor Andy Beshear included $10M for a life sciences lab in Covington in his budget presented to the General Assembly in January 2022. Senator Chris McDaniel, chair of the Kentucky Senate Appropriations & Revenue Committee, initiated the effort in the General Assembly and included an additional $5M. HB1, the state’s two-year budget legislation, provided $15M for a new Northern Kentucky life sciences lab and was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly on April 13, 2022.

The City of Covington, BE NKY Growth Partnership, and Northern Kentucky University each appoint one member of the CLSP board of directors and four members are representatives of the life sciences industry in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region.

Covington Life Sciences Partners board members include:

• Garren Colvin, President & CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Co-Chair
• Chuck Scheper, Chairman, Bexion Pharmaceuticals, Co-Chair
• Lee Crume, President & CEO, BE NKY Growth Partnership
• Dr. Dinesh Ganapathy, Independent Biotech Consultant
• Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, Executive Director, Institute for Health Innovation, and Vice President, Health Innovation, at Northern Kentucky University (NKU)
• Tony Remington, CEO & Co-Founder, Gravity Diagnostics
• Tim Schroeder, Chariman, CEO & Co-Founder, CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services (CTI)

Covington Life Sciences Partners, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded in November 2022 to advance science, education, entrepreneurism, and job creation in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region.

CLSP board of directors biographies


• Garren Colvin was named president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare in 2015. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is Northern Kentucky’s largest employer with 11,000 employees and six facilities and more than 170 primary care and specialty practices throughout Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana, and Greater Cincinnati.

• Chuck Scheper is chairman of the board of Bexion Pharmaceuticals. Previously he was Chief Operating Officer at Great American Financial Resources, a life and annuity company, until his retirement in 2010. Throughout his career, he held leadership roles at several insurance and financial services companies. Chuck is the Chair of Catalytic Development Funding Corp of Northern Kentucky, Covington Economic Development Authority and was formerly interim mayor of the City of Covington.


• Lee Crume is president and CEO of BE NKY Growth Partnership (BE NKY), the economic development company that works to attract, retain, and grow businesses in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties. Appointed in April 2019, Lee brings extensive private sector business expertise to his role leading the team at BE NKY. In 2022, BE NKY won 19 projects, representing 2,356 new jobs and $292M in capital investment. (BE NKY Growth Partnership appointee)

• Dr. Dinesh Ganapathy is an independent biotech consultant and most recently served as a medical science liaison at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He is a medical doctor with significant clinical research experience, has managed several clinical trials from inception to completion, and has presented scientific clinical data at conferences. (City of Covington appointee)

• Dr. Valerie Hardcastle serves in a dual role as the St. Elizabeth Healthcare executive director for the Institute for Health Innovation and vice president for Health Innovation at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She has been recognized for her community work and commitment to improving the quality of health care throughout the region. Dr. Hardcastle and her team have leveraged regional partnerships and implemented solutions that tackle urgent health challenges that include COVID-19 and the opioid crisis. (NKU appointee)

• Tony Remington, MBA is chief executive officer an co-founder of Gravity Diagnostics, headquartered in Covington, Kentucky. Gravity Diagnostics is a state-of-the-art CAP-accredited and CLIA-certified laboratory licensed in all 50 states. Gravity provides innovative diagnostic testing in the areas of toxicology, pharmacogenetics, infectious and upper respiratory diseases, blood, and COVID-19.

• Timothy Schroeder, chairman, CEO, and founder of CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting has more than 35 years of clinical, academic, and industry experience in global drug and device development programs. CTI, founded in 1999, is a multi-national research firm headquartered in Covington, KY with associates in North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East/Africa, and Asia-Pacific. The firm, which is one of the 20 largest contract research organizations (CROs) in the world and has supported approximately 175 drug and device approvals, currently works on behalf of more than 300 global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The company works on projects in rare disease, cell therapy, critically ill patient populations, and recently more than 40 critical COVID-19 projects.

Covington Life Sciences Partners

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