New Biotech Company Born At University of Montana’s MonTEC
When a door closes, often a window opens for new opportunities.
That's what happened when Glaxxo-Smith-Kline Vaccines in Hamilton announced the closure of their research division in 2015. Today, officials from a new biotech company called Inimmune met with Governor Steve Bullock, UM President Royce Engstrom and UM Vice President Scott Whittenburg at the Montana Technology Enterprise Center.
Bullock said the new company helped preserve dozens of jobs that could have gone elsewhere.
"That's 15 high-paying jobs along with knowledge and expertise that could have ended up leaving our state, but instead is right here," Bullock said. "Between Inimmune and the University of Montana with all the faculty involvement, this is just the center that will continue to grow, impact students, and at the end of the day, impact lives."
One of the benefits of the new company is a partnership with UM called the Center for Translational Medicine. Inimmune CEO Jay Evans said the CTM will build a bridge between the University and the new company.
"What the center will do is really assist UM faculty, staff and students in translating their research ideas from bench to bedside," Evans said. "That's what we've done through most of our careers at GSK (Glaxxo-Smith-Kline) and before that at Corixa and at Ribi-Immunochem."
Evans went on to praise his team of scientists and researchers who took a chance on the new company.
"Our strongest asset is definitely the team," he said. "You'd be herd-pressed to find another team with as much experience and expertise and dedication towards developing medicines that improve human health, than the team that we have here at Inimmune and the center for Translational Health."
UM President Royce Engstrom expressed his pride and appreciation for all those responsible for putting the partnership together.
"This is the kind of work we like to do here at the University of Montana," Engstrom said. "To play a bigger role in the economic development of our community and of our state, and to play a bigger role in the kind of research that improves the quality of life here in Montana, and indeed, worldwide," Enstrom said.
After meeting with officials, Governor Bullock toured the Inimmune laboratories and discussed plans for creating additional research facilities at UM.