What is Bioscience?

What is Bioscience?

Bioscience is a diverse field of study and industry with a common thread – applying knowledge to develop biological solutions that sustain, restore, and improve the quality of life for humans, plants, and animals in our world. From life-saving therapies and procedures, to healthier foods and cutting-edge research, society benefits from a better quality of life because of bioscience.

The Ohio Bioscience Report analyzes organizations found within six core subsectors: Agricultural Biotechnology, Medical & Testing Laboratories, Medical Devices & Equipment, Medical Product Distribution, Pharmaceuticals & Therapeutics, and Research & Development.

On this page, you will find introductions to each of the six core bioscience industry subsectors as well as critical contributors to the industry.

2020 BioOhio Report

The Core Bioscience Subsectors

BioOhio’s industry definition uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), the standard used by Federal and private statistical agencies in classifying businesses for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing economic data. See page 97 of the Report for a full methodology including NAICS codes.

Agricultural Biotechnology applies life science knowledge, biochemistry, and biotechnologies to the processing of agricultural goods, organic chemicals as well as biofuels and bio-based materials. Examples of products include: ethanol, biodiesel, bio-based polymers & chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, biodegradable materials synthesized from plant-based feedstock, sustainable industrial oils and lubricants, biocatalysts, and feed additives and ingredients.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing, Bio-based Fuel Manufacturing (except Ethanol), Ethanol / Ethyl Alcohol Manufacturing, Fertilizer Manufacturing (Nitrogenous, Phosphatic, and Mixing), Fibers and Filaments Manufacturing, Pesticide and Other Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing, Soybean and Other Oilseed Processing, and Wet Corn Milling.

Medical & Testing Labs provide critical analytical and medical imaging services for healthcare providers, as well as drug development and analysis work for pharmaceutical companies and research organizations. Laboratories operate throughout Ohio, many as independent facilities and others as part of national health networks.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Diagnostic Imaging Centers, Medical Laboratories, and Testing Laboratories.

Medical Device & Equipment manufacturers deliver a wide range of products including surgical supplies and instruments, orthopedic implants, hospital equipment, advanced diagnostic imaging systems, electromedical devices, mobility aids, laboratory equipment, and much more. Ranging from simple hand tools to highly complex, computerized devices, this sector utilizes materials and techniques that span the entire manufacturing sector.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Analytical Laboratory Instrument Manufacturing, Dental Instruments, Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing, Dental Laboratories (Manufacturing of Bridges, Dentures, Teeth, Orthodontic Appliances, etc.), Electromedical and Medical Imaging Apparatus Manufacturing, Ophthalmic Goods and Supplies Manufacturing (including lens coating, grinding, etc.), Optical Instrument and Lens Manufacturing, Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing, and Surgical Appliance and Supplies Manufacturing.

Medical Product Distribution companies deliver finished products to healthcare providers and patients in the clinical, long term care, and residential settings. Durable medical equipment, mobility aids, respiratory equipment, medications, personal care supplies, home safety equipment, and other goods that enhance and maintain patients’ quality of life all enter the market through this sector.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Home Health Equipment Rental, Medical Equipment and Supplies Wholesale/Distributor, Ophthalmic Goods Wholesaler/Distributor, and Pharmaceuticals and Supplies Wholesaler/Distributor.

Pharmaceuticals & Therapeutics represents companies developing and manufacturing medicinal, botanical, and biological products for both therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Pharmaceuticals can be found in a variety of forms, some being well established medicines available at pharmacies in every town and others at the highly experimental stage, just entering clinical trials on their way toward regulatory approval.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Biological Product Manufacturing, In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance Manufacturing, Medicinal and Botanical Product Manufacturing, and Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing.

Research & Development organizations in Ohio work to advance new discoveries and translate research into products, treatments, and services. This sector includes a wide range of organizations and private companies that include contract research organizations, clinical trial facilities, as well as many start-ups and entrepreneurs. Bioscience research is thriving within academic institutions and health systems, with many groundbreaking concepts being developed by teachers, physicians, and caregivers.

Specific NAICS fields in this subsector:  Research and Development in Biotechnology, Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences, and Research and Development in Nanotechnology & Nanobiotechnologies. 


Critical Contributors to Ohio Bioscience

Bioscience organizations could not operate without the support of critical contributors that provide them with talent, supplies, contract manufacturing, and specialized professional services. The Ohio Bioscience Report covers the six core bioscience subsectors as well as these critical contributors. Below you will find introductions to these organizations.

Learn more: Visit pages 51-70 of the Report for more information and analysis of these critical contributors. Visit BioOhio’s online, searchable database of companies, The Ohio Bioscience Resource Directory, to explore profiles of thousands of bioscience-related organizations around the state.

Bioscience Education Institutions can be found throughout Ohio, providing instruction at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Through intensive STEM education, specialized programs, industry partnerships, and especially the involvement of dedicated teachers, student interest in bioscience continues to grow. 

Ohio’s educational resources, particularly STEM programs in K-12 schools and specialized degree opportunities at post-secondary institutions, offer the skill sets and academic rigor ideally suited to finding a rewarding job in bioscience.


Digital Health companies develop software and technology to expand the capabilities of the bioscience industry, reduce health care costs, increase access to care, and improve patient outcomes.

BioOhio has identified four categories within the digital health field as focus areas: Technology & Research, Medical Records, Patient Wellness, and Practice Management & Revenue.

Healthcare Providers are a key component of the state’s biomedical infrastructure. While offering both routine and lifesaving care, hospitals and providers around Ohio also participate in cutting edge research through clinical trials and laboratory investigation that enable new discoveries to benefit patients around the world. Healthcare providers also represent the end-user and customer for biomedical companies.

Subsectors in the Healthcare field analyzed by BioOhio include Consumer Health, Extended Care, Health and Medical Insurance Carriers, Hospitals, Outpatient Care, Physicians, and Additional Health-Related Fields.

Health and Medical Insurance Carriers are a critical part of the patient-provider relationship by offering plans that cover or supplement patients’ dental, health, and medical expenses. Many insurers also offer wellness programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce the need for medical procedures or readmissions.

Suppliers and Service Providers range from firms that provide key materials or ingredients to those that manufacture, assemble, package, and distribute products—including many that are ISO 13485 certified to manufacture medical devices and equipment. Service-oriented companies include firms providing first-class resources in the areas of regulatory and reimbursement consulting, preclinical
and clinical assessment, product design, quality assurance, engineering, sales and marketing, legal counsel, IT services, training, and more.