Missoula is home to a diverse and growing life sciences cluster. Fed each year by a skilled and well-rounded mix of graduates in biology, chemistry and other related fields as well as approximately 60 graduates from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at The University of Montana, Missoula’s workforce is well-equipped for continued growth in this sector. Moreover, our excellent quality of life, simplified regulatory environment and robust infrastructure provide an excellent environment for new and expanding life sciences businesses.
Every day, important translational and clinical research including drug and device trials happen in Missoula at the Montana Neuroscience Institute, the International Heart Institute and the Montana Cancer Institute. Meantime, The University of Montana’s proactive Office of Technology Transfer maintains close ties to biomedical research efforts, as evidenced by the four (to date) spin-off companies that started out of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION
In 2011, Missoula Economic Partnership helped forge the Missoula Vaccine Partnership, which aims to fill the need for vaccine manufacturing in the United States. Led by Rocky Mountain Biologicals, the partnership has undertaken a $25,000 feasibility study funded by the Big Sky Trust Fund. “We’ve got high-quality people, an educated work force, and the assets that are inherent to a biotech environment,” said Suresh Daniel, president of RMB. “We’ve got a great group of people that can foster this along.”
Missoula is already known as a desirable locale for clinical trials. Our town is home to strong clinical trial populations including students and other relatively “clean” populations. Our relatively low laboratory and labor costs, willingness to take on smaller trials and ability to help meet the need for geographical diversity in trial populations further position Missoula well in the clinical trials space.
In 2011, Missoula Economic Partnership and BitterRoot Economic Development District joined with Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Biologicals to forge the Missoula Vaccine Partnership, which aims to fill the growing, changing need for vaccine manufacturing in the U.S. by creating in Missoula a regional center of excellence for vaccine production. Notably, this effort dovetails with what’s happening on the national level. There has been a significant push to decentralize vaccine production by having more (and more-flexible) manufacturing options in place around the country — the goal being to build the necessary manufacturing infrastructure to produce vaccines safely, quickly and in large quantities.
Over the past decade, Missoula has transformed as a community. We offer a diverse inventory of developable land near both interstate highway and air transport that could house biomedical facilities. There are even finished options designed for life science research: The Dinny Stranahan Building is a beautiful 40,000-square-foot facility originally built for cancer research and currently on the market.
For a partial sampling of local Resources, Companies and Workforce connections, please click to expand the sections and explore the links below.
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. (Billings)
Montana Biotechnology Center — provides core services in support of basic and applied research at The University of Montana, and facilitates interactions between investigators and private sector enterprises in the state. (Missoula)
Montana Community Development Corporation — provides business financing, consulting services and business training. (Missoula)
Montana State University — research institution with biological research expertise. (Bozeman)
Providence St. Patrick Hospital — regional hospital that contracts space for clinical trials. (Missoula)
The University of Montana — research institution with programs in biology, chemistry, pharmacy and other related fields. (Missoula)
Missoula and the surrounding region are home to several innovative life sciences companies.
Ateris Technologies — developer of novel diagnostic and medical products that provide an early warning from exposure to environmental and toxic chemicals. (Missoula)
Bee Alert Technology — a full service bee management and bee health company. Bee Alert’s developed several hive security and monitoring technologies that can significantly improve bee management. (Missoula)
BioLife Plasma Services — an industry leader in the collection of high-quality plasma that is processed into life-saving plasma-based therapies. (Missoula)
Biomimicry Institute — promotes the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs, bringing together scientists, engineers, architects and innovators who can use those models to create sustainable technologies. (Missoula)
Bioscience Laboratories Inc. — conducts efficacy and safety studies for manufacturers of healthcare products, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, medical devices, veterinary products, and more. (Bozeman)
Elite One Source — producer of premium-quality custom formulations for the dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries. (Missoula)
Good Nutrition Ideas — home of novel nutrition products and training services. Founded to improve the nutritional health of people with disabilities and to create innovative health promotion products based on scientific evidence. (Missoula)
GSK Biologicals — one of the world’s leading vaccine manufacturers, supplying around 25 percent of the world’s vaccines. The GSK Bio adjuvant produced here is a key element in Cervarix, a vaccine used to prevent cervical cancer. (Hamilton)
GT Neuropharma — focused on the development of pharmaceuticals based on small molecules to image or to inhibit neurotransporters in the central nervous system. (Missoula)
Infectious Disease Specialists — involved in clinical research, consultation with, and education of health care professionals. (Missoula)
International Heart Institute — brings together a recognized team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses and researchers to perform advanced cardiac procedures and to search for new and improved ways to treat heart disease. (Missoula)
Ligocyte — focused on the development of innovative vaccine products based on the company’s proprietary virus-like particle platform technology. (Bozeman)
Micropowder Solutions — provides materials development expertise, nanotechnology enabled solutions, technical due diligence and intellectual property development services. (Missoula)
Montana Molecular — builds genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors for cell-based assays and live cell imaging. (Bozeman)
Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation — Bringing innovations in science and medicine to those suffering from brain injuries and diseases of the central nervous system through translational and basic research as well as clinical trials. (Missoula)
Nanovalent Pharmaceuticals — biotechnology firm founded in 2006 to develop vaccine and cancer applications for polymerized liposomal nanoparticles. (Bozeman)
Promiliad Biopharma — a drug discovery company that creates novel natural-product-like small molecules in combinatorial arrays. Promiliad facilitates the identification of lead compounds, the preparation of focused libraries and is involved in the development of new antibacterial and antifungal agents. (Alberton)
Purity Systems Inc. — manufactures and sells a line of specialty ion exchange resins used in mining, industrial waste treatment and environmental remediation. (Missoula)
Rocky Mountain Biologicals — manufacturer of high-quality biological media components. (Missoula)
Rocky Mountain Laboratories — state-of-the-art biomedical research facility operated by the National Institutes of Health. RML is perhaps best known for its research into vector-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever and Lyme disease. (Hamilton)
TSI Health Sciences — vertically-integrated manufacturer of proprietary ingredients, intermediates and finished dosage forms for the dietary supplement industry. (Missoula)
Missoula is a talent bargain. More than 24 percent of residents over age 25 have college degrees; yet our average wage-per-job change over the past decade is nearly 30 percent lower than the national average.
Much of that talent comes through the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at The University of Montana. In existence since 1907, the school comprises two departments — Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Pharmacy Practice — and it regularly ranks among U.S. News and World Report’s top 50 pharmacy schools. Particular areas of focused talent within the School of Pharmacy and its graduates are neuroscience, toxicology, medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology. UM offers additional degree programs throughout its College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences.
A unit of UM, Missoula College offers a slate of courses and associate degree programs in clinical laboratory science, chemistry and biochemistry, and health sciences. In addition to its degree opportunities, Missoula College partners with local businesses to develop and teach customized workforce trainings in life sciences.