BioScience under the Big Sky
Winter II Newsletter 2021

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Solo-Dex, Inc.
Wolf Creek, Montana
Dr. Marshall Bloom named to Montana BioScience Alliance Hall of Fame

by Michael Howell, Bitterroot Star
December 29, 2020
Dr. Marshall Bloom, Associate Director for Science Management at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) and Chief of the Biology of Vector-Borne Viruses Section was recently named the 2020 inductee into the Montana BioScience Hall of Fame.
Montanan’s have played a major role in the development of the biological sciences by making very significant contributions to the field over the decades. 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. The BioScience Hall of Fame was established in 2007 “to honor the men and women who have made a difference in the lives of people in our state, our nation and globally.”

“Many world-class scientists, researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs have contributed to the growth of the bioscience industry in Montana,” MBA Executive Director Sharon Peterson said in announcing the selection of Dr. Bloom. “Each year we choose one person to enter into our Hall of Fame. We are thrilled to honor Dr. Bloom this year and to recognize his contributions to Rocky Mountain Laboratories and Montana.”

Rocky Mountain Lab's Bloom shares COVID-19 experience

By Perry Backus, Ravalli Republic
January 12, 2021

Marshall Bloom was still basking in the glow of being inducted into Montana Bioscience Alliance Hall of Fame when the coronavirus decided to give him a different kind of award.

It was one the longtime associate director for science management at Hamilton Rocky Mountain Laboratories would just as soon gone without.

Bloom was one of the leaders at the federal laboratory who focused research efforts on COVID-19 shortly after it became clear last year the disease was going to have a deadly impact in the U.S. and around the world.

He and other RML researchers took all the precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

Just before Christmas, Bloom developed a little cough that wouldn’t go away. As part of the federal laboratory protocol, he filled out the survey required of everyone who developed any COVID-19-like symptoms.

Bloom’s tests for the illness came back positive.
Member News
Tonix Pharmaceuticals Plans Commercial Scale Vaccine Manufacturing Facility
Hamilton, MT Facility Is Planned to Manufacture Vaccines at Commercial Scale, Including Vaccines Under Development for COVID-19
Press Release
December 23, 2020

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: TNXP) (Tonix or the Company), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has completed the purchase of an approximately 44-acre site in Hamilton, Montana, for the construction of a vaccine development and commercial scale manufacturing facility. In September 2020, Tonix completed the purchase of a 40,000 square foot facility in Massachusetts to house its new Advanced Development Center (ADC) for accelerated development and manufacturing of vaccines for clinical trials. Both the Montana and Massachusetts facilities are intended to support the development and production of Tonix’s vaccine candidates, which are led by modified horsepox vaccines, TNX-1800, a potential COVID-19 vaccine and TNX-801, a potential smallpox and monkeypox vaccine.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in the U.S. domestic vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities,” said Seth Lederman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Tonix Pharmaceuticals. “Tonix seeks to be a leader in the re-domestication of American vaccine development and production. We believe it is critical to bring these capabilities and high-tech jobs back to the U.S. both to finish the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for potential future pandemics. After the pandemic, we believe it is likely that COVID-19 will become endemic. That means humans will have to co-exist with COVID-19 and it will be a constant threat that can only be managed by maintaining a vaccinated population. To manage COVID-19 in the future, we need a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that can be part of the standard childhood immunizations, like MMR for mumps, measles and rubella. We expect that such a vaccine will be a live-virus vaccine, because of their potential to provide durable protection and block forward transmission.”

FYR Diagnostics Partners with The State of Montana to Expand COVID-19 Testing

Missoula Startup will Increase In-State Testing Capacity

Press Release
December 31, 2020

FYR Diagnostics, a Missoula-based biotech company, has executed a contract with the State of Montana that will increase statewide COVID-19 testing capacity and reduce the time patients must wait to receive results. Adding FYR as a primary testing resource will keep test processing within Montana and alleviate pressure on the state laboratory in Helena.

“Even with the roll-out of vaccines, the need for fast, accurate, high-volume COVID-19 testing will continue for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Sarj Patel, President of FYR. “We are committed to helping our community.”

A free 24-hour COVID test is available after a private Billings lab developed one from scratch

Yellowstone Pathology Institute found a way to offer a COVID-19 test reversing the frustration felt by waiting

By: Andrea Lutz, KTVQ - Billings Montana
Photo by: MTN News December 30, 2020

Getting a COVID-19 test result can take up to seven days in Yellowstone County, but a private Billings practice has that length of time beat – and they want the public to know about it.

At Yellowstone Pathology Institute they’ve found a way to offer the public a COVID-19 test that’s ready in just 24 hours, reversing the frustration felt by many when it comes to waiting for results.

And the test is free with the help of CARES Act dollars.

COVID-19 Information

FYR Diagnostics is proud to sponsor a website for information and education about the science behind COVID-19! This resource is meant for everyone, from healthcare providers interested in learning more about SARS-CoV-2 virus biology, to citizens interested in arming themselves with information to better protect their loved ones from COVID-19. Special thanks to FYR team member Johnathan Kaiser for all his hard work building this wonderful resource!

5N Plus Acquires Stake in Microbion and Secures Drug Substance Manufacturing Rights
January 12, 2021

5N Plus Inc. ("5N Plus"), a leading global producer of specialty chemicals and engineered materials, and Microbion Corporation ("Microbion"), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of compounds for the treatment of resistant and difficult-to-treat infections, jointly announced today that the parties have entered into a strategic relationship for the development, manufacturing and commercial drug substance supply of Microbion's new class of antibiotic and antibiofilm drugs. Under the terms of the agreement, 5N Plus has taken an equity stake in Microbion and will assume responsibility for the manufacturing of Bismuth-based Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) required in Microbion's family of drug products currently under development, including the company's lead API, pravibismane. Microbion retains responsibility for the development, manufacturing and commercialization of the final drug products currently under development.

Vibliome Therapeutics Expands Its Kinase Inhibitor Discovery Library
Vibliome News
January 11, 2021
Vibliome Therapeutics, LLC, announced today that it has expanded its highly curated proprietary kinase inhibitor discovery library to more than 500 unique compounds. This library is built on a common chemotype the company is leveraging for the development of novel therapeutics targeting clinically relevant cell signaling pathways.

“This is an important milestone for the company,” said Robert Goodwin, Vibliome’s CEO. “We collect a large amount of data on each of our library compounds, including inhibition at multiple concentrations of more than 300 different wild-type kinases. The resulting data set gives us a unique ability to derive structure-activity relationships (SAR) for a large number of important kinase targets at the same time.”

The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development and Eikonizo Therapeutics Enter Agreement to Develop Treatments for Patients with Rare Diseases
February 09, 2021

The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC (MSRD), a member of the global Otsuka family of pharmaceutical companies, announces it has entered a collaboration agreement with Eikonizo Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company committed to creating life-changing therapies, to develop inhibitors of histone deacetylase-6 (HDAC6) focused on treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, MSRD and Eikonizo will collaborate to advance Eikonizo’s HDAC6 inhibitors through preclinical and Phase 1b clinical studies respectively, with the opportunity to expand the collaboration after those studies.

“We are dedicated to seeking out and supporting novel treatments for complex and rare diseases,” said Robert McQuade, Ph.D., president, McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, and chief strategic officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. “Based on our pre-clinical evaluation, we are hopeful that Eikonizo’s compounds can open up new treatment options for patients living with ALS and other rare diseases of high unmet need.”

Montana/ University News
MSU Billings launches on-site student COVID-19 testing lab; enhances virtual learning

By Maureen Brakke
January 26, 2021

Montana State University Billings Student Health Services (SHS) constructed a new COVID-19 testing lab this past winter break to enhance mitigation and testing efforts for the campus community. The lab will test symptomatic MSU Billings students to ensure health and safety protocols, such as quarantine and/or isolation, and contact tracing are established quickly to keep the university population healthy and safe. In addition to testing symptomatic students, the lab will also assist with surveillance testing of student athletes and other student populations as deemed appropriate.

MSUB Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, David Butler, Ph.D., serves as the lab director and has overseen the lab configuration and testing process. “The rapid antigen tests take about 20 minutes from nasal swab to result, which will help move COVID-19- positive students into isolation faster and allow our contact tracers to immediately notify close contacts,” said Butler. Recent MSUB graduate Cody Walters has been hired as a lab assistant and will be spearheading the student testing process with Butler.

Industry News
GSK, Novartis, J&J and Pfizer lead pharma at making their meds accessible: report

By Beth Snyder Bulik
January 26, 2021

Once again, GlaxoSmithKline has topped pharma company medicine accessibility rankings in a biennial global report, out Tuesday.

Compiled by the Access to Medicine Foundation, the report measures how well the largest 20 global Big Pharma companies are making drugs and vaccines accessible to low- and middle-income countries, which account for 83% of the world’s population.

GSK topped the access list for the seventh time—it's done so in every report since its inception—but this year, Novartis cut GSK's lead. Johnson & Johnson ranked third and Pfizer moved into the No. 4 spot for its first time in the top 10, followed by Sanofi rounding out the top five.

Scientists Identify Locations of Early Prion Protein Deposition in Retina
Findings Indicate Cones Precede Rods as Targets for Infection
News Release
January 29, 2021

The earliest eye damage from prion disease takes place in the cone photoreceptor cells, specifically in the cilia and the ribbon synapses, according to a new study of prion protein accumulation in the eye by National Institutes of Health scientists. Prion diseases originate when normally harmless prion protein molecules become abnormal and gather in clusters and filaments in the human body and brain.
(left panel) Early in prion infection, a prion protein aggregate (magenta) blocks the entrance to a cilium (green) in a retinal photoreceptor. (lower right) In prion-infected retina, prion protein (magenta) accumulates under the horseshoe-shaped ribbon synapses (green) found in photoreceptor terminals. NIAID
Understanding how prion diseases develop, particularly in the eye because of its diagnostic accessibility to clinicians, can help scientists identify ways to slow the spread of prion diseases. The scientists say their findings, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications, may help inform research on human retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease with similar photoreceptor degeneration leading to blindness.

Coronavirus Variants and Mutations

By Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer
February 11, 2021

Each coronavirus contains nearly 30,000 letters of RNA. This genetic information allows the virus to infect cells and hijack them to make new viruses.

As an infected cell builds new coronaviruses, it occasionally makes tiny copying errors called mutations. Scientists can track mutations as they are passed down through a lineage, which is a branch of the viral family tree.
A group of coronaviruses that share the same inherited set of distinctive mutations is called a variant. If enough mutations accumulate in a lineage, the viruses may evolve clear-cut differences in how they function. These lineages come to be known as strains. Covid-19 is caused by a coronavirus strain known as SARS-CoV-2.

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!
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:

To find out more about the most current open positions, Click Here!
Careers at BioScience Laboratories

Open Positions:
-Subject Recruitment Coordinator
-Subject Recruitment Marketing Coordinator
-Clinical Laboratory Technician

EMAIL RESUME & COVER LETTER TO: Tammy Anderson, Human Resources Manager :

If you did not see anything that you are interested in at this time, please send us your resume and cover letter anyways! We would like to see how you could help BioScience Laboratories.

Find out more about these open positions, Click Here!
Two Bear Capital provides a job board with the different job openings from
the following companies:

-FYR Diagnostics
-Spiral Genetics

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.

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.
2021 FAST Micro-Grants are here!

The Montana Innovation Partnership (MTIP) powered by MSU TechLink Center will utilize some of our 2021 FAST funds to provide financial assistance to Montana small businesses that are actively preparing SBIR/STTR proposals in the federal fiscal year 2021.

MTIP will award 10 FAST Microgrants to eligible SBIR/STTR applicants of up to $1,500 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
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 omnibus program announcement. The next submission due date is April 5, 2021.

  • 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. The full funding guidelines are available here.

Questions? Feel free to contact Ann at or
Annmarie Robinson with the Department of Commerce at
What's Happening?
The Montana BioScience Alliance along with South Dakota BIO, the Idaho Technology Council and Wyoming Small Business Development Center participated in a Webinar with the National Institute on Aging on February 3rd. Information was shared with opportunities at the Institute.

In case you missed it – Check out the webinar here!

The BIO Digital is taking place June 10-11 and 14-18 2021. Stay tuned for more information and follow the website- BIO Digital | BIO .
Montana ranked number one as best state to start a small business in 2021 by The Blueprint
By Meridith Depping, KFBB Digital Producer

Montana was ranked the number one best state to start a small business in 2021 by The Blueprint.

Factors used to determine the ranking were tax climate, consumer spending in the state, rate of new entrepreneurs, business survival rate over five years, labor costs, and climate according to the Great Falls Development Authority.

According to The Blueprint’s article, Montana scores high in several areas, including the number of new businesses calling Montana home.

The article says the state has a five-year business survival rate of 53.4 percent, and that consumer spending is on the rise, going from $41.4 million in 2017 to $45.3 million in 2019.

Top 10 Best States to Start Your Small Business in 2021

By Mary Girsch-Bocker, The Blueprint
January 19, 2021
If you’re looking to start a small business, your location may matter more than you think. There are some locations across the U.S. that offer more advantages for new businesses, which can ultimately determine just how successful your business will be.

These are the best states for small businesses in 2021.

1. Montana
Total Score: 7.39
Tax Climate: 6.23
Consumer Spending in State: 4.93
Rate of New Entrepreneurs: 9.21
Business Survival Rate: 8.55
Labor Costs: 7.56
Climate: 9.37

Montana’s Department of Commerce welcomes small businesses, offering a variety of resources for new business owners. The best state to open a business in 2021, Montana scores high in several areas, including the number of new businesses calling Montana home. A five-year business survival rate of 53.4% puts the odds of success in your favor.

With a median annual income of $57,153, labor costs should be reasonable, and geographically, Montana holds little risk of natural disasters, with forest fires the major culprit in 2020.
Montana’s corporate tax climate is not as optimal as it could be, with a corporate tax rate of 6.75%, while the individual income tax rate tops out at 6.9%. Montana does not currently have a state sales tax. Consumer spending is also on the rise, going from $41.4 million in 2017 to $45.3 million in 2019, a 9.2% increase, with the state on an upward trend.

Events Calendar

2021 Mansfield Lecture: 
A Conversation With
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Wednesday, February 17 at 12:00 MST Via Zoom

Save the date! The Mansfield Center is honored to host Dr. Anthony Fauci for the 2021 Mansfield Lecture. In a conversation and Q&A, Dr. Fauci will address such questions as: Where are we with Covid-19? How transformational is a vaccine and what challenges are there for distributing vaccines in the U.S. and around the world? When will we "get back to normal," and what will "normal" be like in the coming months and years? As we look to the future, what are the main lessons we should learn from this pandemic?
Following the discussion, Associate Director for Science Management for Rocky Mountain Laboratories Dr. Marshall Bloom will discuss the unique resource we have in Montana of the Rocky Mountain Labs and how the Labs play a key role in our nation's health by addressing infectious disease threats.
The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Robert Saldin, Director of the Mansfield Ethics and Public Affairs Program.

For more information and to register, Click Here!
Through its partnership with BIO, the Montana Bioscience Alliance (MBA) offers its members the opportunity to take advantage of the BIO Business Solutions® programs listed below.
Click on the company name to learn more.
There is no fee for MBA members to participate.