2008 New Frontiers Conference emphasizes economic benefits of research to Montana. Sen. Baucus Announces $1.6MM for new Ravalli Entrepreneurship Center

Scientific research conducted at Montana State University and at companies across the state will create better-paying jobs and make Montana a player in the international scientific and economic communities.

That’s the message Montana Sen. Max Baucus brought to the 2008 New Frontiers Conference, held Monday in Bozeman. The conference – which Baucus organized and MSU helped sponsor – brought together researchers, corporations and venture capitalists in the hopes of creating business opportunities that will benefit the entire state.

Over the years, MSU has licensed a variety of technologies, from new varieties of safflower to nanotechnology, and spawned a number of companies. The following local companies have either spun off of MSU research or have close ties to the university.

Bridger Photonics – Founded in 2006, Bridger Photonics works with lasers and laser-based sensors, including one device that can remotely sense methamphetamine labs. The company was founded by three MSU laser physics graduates and works closely with the university’s Spectrum Lab.

Right Now Technologies – From its Bozeman headquarters, right now provides high-tech sales, marketing and customer service solutions for companies like British Airways and Nikon. The company hires many MSU graduates from a variety of disciplines.

Bacterin International – Since 1997, Bacterin has developed anti-infection coatings for medical devices that prevent harmful microbial growth. The Belgrade-based firm was founded on research conducted at MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering.

Ligocyte Pharmaceuticals – Based in Bozeman, Ligocyte creates advanced drugs that work with the human immune system to fight inflammation and infection. The company regularly sponsors research in MSU labs, licenses several MSU technologies and employs a number of university graduates.

Phillips Environmental – From its Belgrade headquarters, Phillips manufactures products that help manage human waste when plumbing is not available, such as biological deodorizers and decomposition agents. Among its clients are FEMA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The company licenses technologies from MSU’s plant sciences department.

By Michael Becker, MSU News Service

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Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus today announced a new grant that will create 253 jobs in Ravalli County.

While hosting his New Frontiers research conference in Bozeman today, Baucus joined Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce Sandy Baruah in announcing the $1.6 million grant. Baruah heads the Economic Development Administration, which awarded the grant at Baucus’ request.

The dollars will be used to build a new Ravalli Entrepreneurship Center .

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Summit highlights state research

By SCOTT McMILLION Chronicle Staff Writer

More than 400 business people, academics, politicians and government officials gathered in Bozeman on Monday to discuss how to bolster Montana’s rapidly growing research-based economy.

The goal is to showcase Montana’s tech industries and research facilities to investors and major corporations around the nation, said U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the leaders and sponsors of the event.

“A lot of it is building new relationships, opening doors,” Baucus said at the GranTree hotel. “It’s about meeting the right people, the people who can help make their dreams come true.”

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