Meet Some Key Researchers in Montana Biotechnology – and Learn What Makes Them Great Tenants
As Montana’s biotechnology industry moved forward, demand for specialized commercial space heated up. Tonix Pharmaceuticals acquired 43 acres in Hamilton, Montana for a vaccine production facility. In Bozeman, NanoValent Pharmaceuticals raised millions in their pursuit of novel cancer research.
In Missoula, a business incubator on the Clark Fork River houses some of the state’s cutting edge biotech companies. Inimune, FYR Diagnostics, and Montana BioAgriculture tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges. Things like combating disease and creating hearty, stress-tolerant food sources.
There’s good news here for beer drinkers, too. A recent grant from the US Department of Agriculture bolsters the research, allowing the Montana BioAgriculture team to integrate barley into their scope of work. They expanded in 2019, doubling their lab space in preparation for the work ahead.
While commercial build out of laboratory space brings a hefty price tag, demand is high. FYR is just one of several biotech companies raising millions in private venture capital. Especially after the events of the past year, confidence in biotech continues to make a meteoric rise.
These leases are more technical than a typical commercial lease, says Morina. But, they have clear benefits for the property owner. “What are the requirements for equipment placement? We consider the storage of sensitive materials, waste disposal, and deionized water, as well as the need for air compressors, power backups, and even specialized flooring and countertops that are chemical resistant. While these spaces are custom, they also attract extremely loyal, long-term tenants.”
Inimmune plans to start clinical trials in 2022, with human testing moving the company into a new stage of growth. On their website, Inimmune characterizes the company as “fast-moving” and ready to change the landscape of their field.
With funding flowing into the Montana biotechnology sector, some industrial owners eye conversion of existing spaces. In Missoula, with limited inventory of commercial spaces suitable for laboratory use, MonTEC fills a critical need.
Brigitta Miranda-Freer, director of MonTEC operations, carefully tracks the interest in Montana biotechnology. “It speaks to the value the funding body saw in putting some money behind things that are already occurring organically in the state of Montana,” she said of a recent grant to MonTEC.
“We have a waitlist for folks seeking space here at MonTEC,” says Morina. “If we had more lab space come on the market in Missoula, it would have a strong tenant base right off the bat. These Montana companies are well-poised for growth and a sustainable future.”