BioScience under the Big Sky

Winter 2022 Newsletter

Hall of Fame

BioScience Alliance Hall of Fame 2022

Our 2022 Hall of Fame inductee is Jon Laurent, Ph.D., recently Head of Research and Development at the Pandemic Response Lab

In late 2022, Dr. Jon Laurent stepped into a consulting role to work on new opportunities after more than two years, which he describes as intense, at the Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) in New York City. There he and other scientists developed critical platforms to increase testing during the COVID pandemic. Dr. Laurent was co-founder of the lab that opened in August 2020 and worked closely in its development with NYU Langone Health and Opentrons Labworks, a New York based lab robotics company.

Dr. Laurent was working as a postdoctoral research fellow at NYU Langone Health when COVID hit. He and his colleagues already were aware that the country was facing a serious and devastating outbreak.

“The COVID pandemic could have had a huge impact in showing the world what science can do and how science can help people when we really put our minds to it. The explosion of published information about SARS-CoV-2 as well the rapid development of highly effective vaccines are certainly examples of this, but it’s also had this negative effect because a portion of the population doesn’t believe the science or thinks that the scientists are after them or misleading them. We must encourage people to understand that science is a rigorous and demanding discipline. We’re not trying to deceive anyone.” Dr. Jon Laurent, December 2022.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Member News

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Announces Collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital to Study TNX-1500 (Fc-modified anti-CD40L mAb) for the Prevention of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GvHD) Following Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Animals

News Release

December 05, 2022

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: TNXP) (Tonix or the Company), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has entered into a sponsored research agreement with Boston Children's Hospital to study TNX-15001 (Fc-modified anti-CD40L mAb) for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) in animals. The principal investigator is Leslie S. Kean M.D., Ph.D., Director, Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School. The primary objective of the preclinical research study is to study the activity of TNX-1500 administered prophylactically to modify GvHD progression in animals after HCT to support an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for human studies. A Phase 1 study of TNX-1500 to assess pharmacokinetics and tolerability is expected to start in the first half of 2023.

“We are excited to work with Leslie Kean on studying the potential of TNX-1500 for preventing GvHD after HCT,” said Seth Lederman, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Tonix Pharmaceuticals. “Stem cell transplantation is an essential component of the treatment of several blood cell or hematologic cancers, but GvHD remains the most deadly complication, and limits the success of this otherwise life-saving treatment. To date, there has not been a humanized anti-CD40L antibody that can effectively prevent transplant rejection or GvHD with acceptable levels of tolerability. TNX-1500 is a third generation anti-CD40L monoclonal antibody that has been designed by protein engineering to decrease FcγRII binding and to reduce the potential for thrombosis. We are excited to sponsor this study of testing anti-CD40L in HCT to potentially replace cyclophosphamide in the post-transplant setting. A positive result would potentially support an IND and human studies.”

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Vaccine Adjuvants

Vaccines are one of the most successful medical interventions in human history, saving 2.5 million lives per year and protecting millions more from severe illness and hospitalization, according to the WHO. Despite this incredible success, there are many infectious diseases for which effective vaccines do not currently exist. One strategy to developing new or more protective vaccines is through the addition of adjuvants, which help activate the immune system.

Inimmune is a leader in the discovery and development of vaccine adjuvants with over 20 years of expertise in their safe and effective use. Inimmune’s novel small molecule adjuvants can activate the immune system in specific ways to drive the right immune response to deliver protection against pathogens of interest. Our lead vaccine adjuvants target innate immune receptors TLR4, TLR7/8, and Mincle and are focused on generating Th1 and Th17 responses. We are also working on discovery of new adjuvants that target STING as well as inflammasome-activating adjuvants. In addition, our formulations team has extensive expertise in tailoring vaccine delivery systems for these innate immune agonists, to match the route of administration and dosing required for a given indication.    

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Enabling Precision Medicine

From Corporate Vision

January 19, 2023

For over 20 years Golden Helix has been a software company that innovates genetic analysis software for next-generation sequencing (NGS) – and, believing that its customers and employees are at the heart of its success, it has built a glowing reputation as the industry leader in its field. Named as Best Global Bioinformatics Firm 2023 – USA in this issue of Corporate Vision magazine, we shine a light on the company and how its products are changing the face of healthcare.

A company founded by scientists for scientists, the team at Golden Helix understand what it takes to do great work in their field. They are experts who work tirelessly to help clients succeed in their projects every step of the way, from planning and implementation to training and support after deployment. They are dedicated to delivering excellence, whether a client is running a national initiative or are just starting out, including hospitals, research institutions, government agencies, academic institutions, and pharmaceutical companies around the world.

Also playing an enormous role in making sure everyone is familiar with the company’s cutting-edge software technology is its hardworking sales and marketing team. Having been around since 1998, Golden Helix has extensive experience within the genetics space. In particular, it is its seven pillars of differentiation that set it apart from the rest, allowing client labs to focus on what they do best: enabling precision medicine.    

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Montana/ University News

MSU Billings professor pioneers ALS research with undergraduate students

By Maureen Brakke

December 5, 2022

Montana State University Billings Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, Lynn George, Ph.D., was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This three-year, $385,000 grant will support George’s efforts to continue and expand her research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. George’s grant proposal scored in the top one percentile, which is laudable, given the highly competitive nature of NIH funding.

Pictured from L to R: Joseph Walters (former student), Lynn George, Renzie Pond (current student), Magge Snow (current student), BreAnna Cameron (former student).

NIH AREA grants are designed specifically for institutions like MSUB that focus on undergraduate research. The grant’s intent is to expose undergraduate students to research early in their academic careers. George shares that providing students with an opportunity to learn cutting edge scientific techniques, conduct their own experiments, and to be part of the research process, gives them hands-on, real-world experience and insight into the field, in hopes that many will choose careers in science and research.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

INDUSTRY Bozeman breaks ground at new MSU Innovation Campus facility

From MSU News Service

June 10, 2022

INDUSTRY Bozeman, a multi-tenant modern office space broke ground Friday morning on an 87,000-square-foot building to be located on the Montana State University Innovation Campus.

INDUSTRY provides customizable workspaces for long-term tenants that include shared amenities. INDUSTRY Bozeman will feature 61,000 square feet of fully customizable workspace and 26,000 square feet of common spaces, such as conference and huddle rooms, kitchens, event space and more. INDUSTRY Bozeman will be the company’s fourth space, with locations already open in Denver, Salt Lake City and, soon, Detroit.

“At its core, INDUSTRY is about infusing activity through purposeful placemaking," said Jason Winkler co-founder of INDUSTRY. "INDUSTRY Bozeman will be a catalyst for the MSU Innovation Campus' creative and entrepreneurial vision, and we are thankful to the MSU Alumni Foundation, MSU and the city of Bozeman for welcoming us into this fast-paced market.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Mark Sharpe, director of the MSU Innovation Campus, addresses the audience at the June 10, 2022, groundbreaking for INDUSTRY Bozeman on the campus just north of the Applied Research Laboratory in Bozeman. (Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/MSU Photo)

Montana State joins regional alliance for high-tech economic development

Marshall Swearingen, MSU News Service

January 9, 2023

Montana State University has joined with a dozen other universities in the region to form a partnership aimed at creating economic development opportunities around emerging high-tech industries.

A materials science doctoral student sets up a specialized microscope designed to study properties of quantum materials. MSU photo by Adrián Sánchez-González.

The Mountains and Plains University Innovation Alliance, which includes universities in Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas, will support coordination and collaboration to attract and expand industries aligned with the member institutions’ strengths in research and education, according to Alison Harmon, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development.

"This is about creating thoughtful and strategic development that diversifies our economy and creates high-paying jobs that would otherwise be concentrated in cities outside our rural region,” said Harmon, who serves on the alliance’s governance subcommittee. “As our university research helps drive new technologies and our graduates build valuable skills, we want to help anchor these industries in our region so that we can all benefit.”

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Bitterroot College, Bitterroot Health Partner on Health Care Workforce

University of Montana News

 December 14, 2022

Health care is Montana’s largest industry and is projected to experience more job growth than any other industry in the state over the next eight years. However, with the State employment rate hovering around 2.6%, health care facilities are facing extreme workforce shortages. Because of this high demand for health care workers, Bitterroot Health and Bitterroot College are partnering to address these workforce issues through innovation and collaboration.

This partnership also is supported by Missoula College and the University of Montana Office of Health Research & Partnership, so students in Ravalli County have access to a wide range of health profession educational opportunities and student support services.

“Workforce in health care was already a difficult issue before COVID,” said Rebecca Bargfrede, chief transformational and corporate compliance officer for Bitterroot Health. “Now after COVID, we’re having an even tougher time getting the talent we need into Hamilton to fill these critical positions and care for our patients. The beauty of partnering with Bitterroot College is that we’ll offer amazing opportunities to people who already live in the valley, and who already love the valley.”

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Momentum Continues in UM’s First Year as ‘R1’ Research University

University of Montana News

January 30, 2023

The University of Montana was named a top-tier "R1" research institution last year. It was the culmination of a decades-long goal for UM, and the science surge has only gained momentum in the first six months of the 2022-23 fiscal year.

During the past decade, expenditures from research grants have more than doubled at the University. This past fall reported research expenditures were a record $126 million, up $4 million from the year before. UM experienced a 129% increase from the $55 million reported in 2014.

Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, was a chief architect of the University’s bid to earn R1 status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Only about 3.7% of degree-granting institutions across the U.S. earn the designation. Of the 146 R1 universities, UM ranks No. 9 for research growth since 2014.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

UM wildlife biology student Bailey Underwood processes samples from fruit flies in an evolutionary genomics lab.

Industry News

2023 Healthcare & Life Sciences Outlook

Payers, providers, and life sciences companies are being asked to do more with less in the wake of workforce challenges, shifting market and regulatory pressures, and a potential economic downturn—all while patients are increasingly expecting a more personalized, convenient experience.

The common thread? A digital-first mindset that leverages data across organizations and business units to deliver care when and where it's needed.

Read more about the challenges and trends facing the industry, and the actions we recommend they take to succeed in our 2023 Healthcare & Life Sciences Outlook.


At Amgen, It’s "Innovate or Die" Says Amgen CEO Bob Bradway in Interview with Morgan Stanley

As part of the financial services firm’s "Exceptional Leaders/Exceptional Ideas" video series, Amgen’s CEO discusses how innovation is key to the company's ability to serve patients, deliver strong financial results and attract the best talent.

On September 28, 2022, Amgen CEO Bob Bradway sat down with Matthew Harrison, managing director and head of biotech industry research at Morgan Stanley, to discuss Amgen's strategy of providing innovative medicines that make a big difference for patients suffering from serious diseases. The conversation coincided with "Mission Week" at Amgen and was published recently as part of Morgan Stanley's series of "Exceptional Leaders/Exceptional Ideas" interviews with leading CEOs across a range of industries. 

"We like to say at Amgen, 'innovate or die'," Bradway told Harrison. "We believe we can earn a return [on our R&D investments] when we're able to generate innovative new molecules that have a very big effect size for the patients who use them, and where the unmet medical needs are high. If we are able to develop medicines that keep people out of the hospital and that improve a condition not just marginally but profoundly, then society should see that as a good investment." Bradway noted that one area where Amgen is focused on delivering innovation is cardiovascular disease, given that it is responsible for one of every three deaths globally.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

What's Happening?

Two pages on our website to help with your work – Jobs and Events

We’re pleased with the responses we’ve received to our new website –

The site is designed to serve our members and others who are committed to a robust and growing bioscience sector in Montana. It gives you a picture of what Montana offers, and what we have accomplished so far in support of bioscience enterprises.

One page we encourage you to use lists available jobs in the biosciences. You’ll find it here.

Submitting your jobs for posting is an easy online process. Go to Post a Job at the bottom of the Jobs page and provide the information requested. We will review it, let you know if we need anything more, and then post the job. Your posting will stay up for two months. If you would like to renew it after that time, just let us know. We ask that you inform us when a job is filled and we will remove it.

We also want to promote your events. As with the Jobs page, you may submit your information in the events form and we will place it on our calendar.

We encourage you to take advantage of these services. Both are available to any bioscience enterprise, either in Montana or elsewhere, at no charge. If you have questions, please call 406-896-5876.

We look forward to having you visit and hope you check in often.

Med Careers Summit brings Billings students up close with medical field options

By Casey Conlon, Q2 News

December 5, 2022

Emily Johnson met lots of new people Friday, and asked lots of questions.

"What does the day-to-day look like? Do you guys have to get a special degree? And this is your email to contact?"

It’s exactly the kind of day the Billings Senior student was hoping for.


Med Careers student Emily Johnson (left) gets hands-on experience at the medical assistant booth inside the Med Careers summit at MSUB.

"I was just going along for the ride," Johnson said. "I didn't really know what to expect, but I really like what I see. I like what I’m hearing."

Johnson and her classmates from the Billings Career Center med careers program rotated around about 40 medical booths at MSU Billings during the third annual Careers in Healthcare Student Summit. The favorites are always ones that have props.

Click Here to Continue Reading!

Events Calendar

Startup Bootcamp

for Life Science Entrepreneurs  

The Wilson Sonsini Startup Bootcamp is an exclusive program designed for those in the process of starting a new life-science-focused venture


Join us as we welcome partners with Wilson Sonsini as they share practical information on the legal and business issues facing today's life science entrepreneurs. This exclusive event is sponsored by the Montana Bioscience Alliance in partnership with the Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative and the Montana Innovation Partnership powered by MSU TechLink Center.


Who should attend: this event is designed for investigators, graduate students, faculty, and early-stage founders launching or considering starting a life-science focused technology venture.


When: March 6, 2023 10:30 AM MST - 4:00 PM MST

Where: Inspiration Hall located in Norm Asbjornson Hall at Montana State University Bozeman

Space is limited. If you have questions about this event, please contact: or


Join Us in Boston for BIO 2023

Expertise in question, regulatory belt tightening. Stifled innovation. The stakes have never been higher. The threat never more real. It’s time we said no more. Stand up for innovation. Stand up for truth. And stand up for science. It’s time to inspire, honor, and recognize the true value of the breakthrough work biotech performs for society. Today. And every day. Well into the future.

Learn More!

Employment and Funding Opportunities
The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative 4th F fund

The objective of the 4th “F” Fund (4FF) is to provide direct assistance to Montana Bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the Bioscience industry.

For the link to the 4th F Fund Application, Click Here!

2022 FAST Micro-Grants are here!

The Montana Innovation Partnership (MTIP) powered by MSU TechLink Center will utilize some of our 2022 FAST funds to provide financial assistance to Montana small businesses that are actively preparing SBIR/STTR proposals in the federal fiscal year 2022.

The costs to apply for an SBIR/STTR grant or contract can be considerable. Financial assistance for early-stage companies increases their participation in the SBIR program and the quality of their proposals.

MTIP will award six FAST Microgrants to eligible SBIR/STTR applicants of up to $2,000 per year. Prospective SBIR/STTR applicants may apply to MTIP to receive Microgrants to attend conferences, travel to speak with agencies or commercialization partners, to acquire consulting services from an approved service provider for assistance with preparation of Phase I or Phase II proposals, to develop supporting project data, and to undertake other activities directly related to their SBIR/STTR proposal.

For more information and to access the application

Click Here!

Careers at Mesa

Our 500+ employees do work that matters in following our purpose Protecting the Vulnerable®, applying our skills in ways that make a positive impact. That work is accomplished by rallying behind Mesa’s vision: a customer-focused, lean-based value system, called The Mesa Way! and is based on four pillars that drive our work every day- Measure What Matters, Empower Teams, Steadily Improve, and Always Learn

Open Positions:

-Production Maintenance Manager

-Machine Operator - Assembly and Packaging

-Credit & Collections Specialist

-Senior Manufacturing Engineer

-Part-Time Technician - Manufacturing (Process Challenge Device)

-Technician - Mail-in Spore Testing (MIST)

-Manager - Manufacturing

-Lab Technician - BI Lab

To find out more about the current open positions and about Mesa Labs, Click Here!

Careers at Montana Molecular

Montana Molecular develops fluorescent biosensors and reporters for drug discovery and research in living cells. Our products help scientists observe and measure cell processes that are important in maintaining health and treating disease. Our team is focused on creating breakthrough innovations that empower scientists and lead to better therapeutic treatments for disease. The company is committed to building a sustainable biotech industry in the state of Montana, providing good jobs in a safe and healthy environment.

Montana Molecular is growing. We have openings for scientific staff with a desire to bring cutting edge fluorescence technology to the market place. This will involve working with a team to combine experience in molecular biology, live cell imaging and fluorescence microscopy to create new tools for discovery. The people who work here are passionate about science and dedicated to building the next generation of biosensors for drug discovery and cell biology.

Open Positions:

To find out more about the current open positions and about Montana Molecular, Click Here!

Careers at FYR Diagnostics

FYR Diagnostics is a fast growing Missoula, MT-based biotechnology company developing a powerful portfolio of PCR-focused solutions. FYR Diagnostics’ mission is to commercialize novel detection technologies to help eliminate human suffering by better diagnosing human disease states and to eliminate vast inefficiencies in the agricultural industry.

Those who work with FYR Diagnostics are members of a community that seeks to respect and celebrate all the qualities that make each of us unique. Each of us is empowered to be ourselves within this community, which cultivates and promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels. FYR Diagnostics is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Workplace and Affirmative Action Employer.

Open Positions:

-Laboratory Logistics and Purchasing Coordinator

-Interested in FYR- Job Not Listed

To find out more about the current open positions, Click Here!

Two Bear Capital provides a job board with the different job openings from
the following companies:

-FYR Diagnostics
-Leapfrog Bio

For Open positions with Companies you'll love to work for, Click Here!

Work for a great company in beautiful Bozeman, MT

At Golden Helix, we are committed to accelerating ground-breaking research in genetics, drug discovery and predictive analytics, to our purpose of dramatically improving human health, our great culture, personal development, and strong values.

We are always seeking self-motivated individuals who strive for excellence and have the drive to help us on our journey. We offer competitive wages, benefits and the opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

Open Positions:

-Area Sales Director

-Director of Renewal Sales

-Finance Manager

-Operations Coordinator

General Employment Inquiries

Interested in a position that we're not actively hiring? Submit your resume for our files! We will archive your information and if a position becomes available that matches your qualifications, we'll contact you.

Click here to apply!

GSK Hamilton

The Hamilton site is located on a 35-acre campus in the heart of the scenic Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. It started in 1981 as Ribi ImmunoChem Research, Inc., a company focused on research and development of vaccine components capable of stimulating the immune system. GSK purchased the site in 2005 to acquire its proprietary adjuvant technology which is used to help make vaccines more effective. GSK Hamilton currently employs over 185 professionals and is expanding its job base with the addition of a new adjuvant manufacturing facility.

To review current openings at the GSK Hamilton (GlaxoSmithKline) site, Click Here!

Open Solicitations From Techlink and MTIP

Dates are subject to change. Please refer to each agency site for up-to-date information.

  • NIH Targeted funding announcements have varying release and due dates. Find a list of currently open program announcements and requests for applications here.

Links to all participating agencies' SBIR home pages are available here.

Reach out today for no-cost consulting and proposal reviews from one of MTIP's SBIR


Montana SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program

What do you do after you have received Stage 1 SBIR/STTR matching funds from the

Montana Department of Commerce, have satisfactorily completed your Phase I work, the

Phase I final report has been accepted by the Federal SBIR/STTR agency, and you have

submitted your SBIR or STTR Phase II proposal?

You submit your Stage 2 application to the Montana SBIR/STTR Matching Funds

Program. You do not have to receive notification of a Phase II award before submitting this

application. For more information, Click Here!

Questions? Feel free to contact Ann at or

Annmarie Robinson with the Department of Commerce at


UPS Healthcare brings reliability, scalability and security to life science companies every day. Its portfolio of end-to-end services is well-suited to meet today's complex logistics demands for the pharmaceutical, medical device, and laboratory diagnostic industries. Learn exactly how from UPS Healthcare.

Through Montana BioScience Alliance’s partnership with UPS Healthcare, you get access to exclusive rates on a full suite of UPS® services. And, after recent renegotiations, the savings have gotten even better. While the same popular shipping services, like UPS Next Day Air®, and UPS Worldwide Express SM, remain at reduced rates, the price band range to qualify for discounts is narrower. For example, a company that spends $1,500 to $4,999.99 weekly for UPS Next Day Air® shipping now receives a 60% discount rather than a 50-55% discount under the previous arrangement.

As a Montana BioScience Alliance member, be confident that your critical healthcare shipments will be delivered timely and with care by a quality-focused and patient-driven organization.

Montana BioScience Alliance Members Save Up To:

· 74% on UPS Next Day Air®

· 59% on UPS 2nd Day Air® & UPS 3 Day Select Services®

· 51% on UPS Ground® Commercial Services

· 68% on UPS Worldwide International Services

BIO Business Solutions®, the largest cost-savings program for the life sciences industry, is FREE with your company’s membership in BIO or Montana BioScience Alliance. Receiving savings from our lab and office partners is incredibly simple. We’ve already vetted the suppliers and negotiated discounted pricing and favorable end-user agreements.

Click on the company name to learn more.
There is no fee for MBA members to participate.

Montana BioScience Alliance | []


The Montana Bioscience Alliance serves as a hub for Montana's biotechnology companies,

entrepreneurs, laboratories, hospitals, clinics and universities to commercialize, grow and sustain

globally competitive bioscience companies -- ultimately to create high-quality jobs and economic

opportunity in Montana.

Sharon Peterson

Executive Director

Montana BioScience Alliance