The head of Tonix Pharmaceuticals came to Montana this week to see the building site for a new facility in Hamilton. CEO Dr. Seth Lederman stopped by Helena first and met with Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, who expressed his support for the bioscience development in an area already established as a center for such activity in the state. Hamilton is also home to the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the NIAID of the National Institutes of Health. A private production facility of GlaxoSmithKline is also located in the town.

Dr. Lederman then traveled to the recently acquired Tonix building site on the northeast edge of Hamilton. He met with community representatives and the media, where he expressed optimism of the future of bioscience opportunities in southwest Montana.

Ravalli County and the City of Hamilton have been developing the needed infrastructure to support such high tech bioscience facilities, which started years ago with Edgar Ribi's Ribi Immunochem. Also Thursday, Dr. Lederman participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Marshall Bloom of Rocky Mountain Labs, Hamilton Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf, Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott and Ravalli County Economic Development Authority chairman Ryan Oster.

At that panel, the importance of a private-public partnership was emphasized. Dr. Lederman also looked forward to working with the newly authorized Bitterroot Community College and the nearby University of Montana. Dr. Bloom welcomed the expansion of research facilities in the same neighborhood of the Rocky Mountain Labs, and all panelists mentioned the cooperation of scientists and public officials in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Lederman told KLYQ, "It is unique, not just in Montana, but in the United States and maybe the world, to have so much vaccine and infectious disease expertise so close together...Their scientists are coming up with new vaccines all the time and we would have the capability to potentially partner with them and make their vaccines at the type of quality that would be required for human trials." He thanked Julie Foster of the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority for helping set up this week's visit.

Tonix is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, licensing, acquiring and developing small molecules and biologics to treat and prevent human disease and alleviate suffering, concentrating on the central nervous system and immunology.

EDA panel
Ravalli Biotech Roundtable. (L to R) EDA Ryan Oster, Hamilton Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf, Tonix CEA Seth Lederman, Ravalli Co. Commissioner Greg Chilcott, RML Associate Director Marshall Bloom. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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