Montana State University partnership helps LigoCyte score $6.7 million in federal funds over the next fiscal year

LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals’ contract with the U.S. Department of Defense has been extended to include another $6.7 million over the next fiscal year, CEO Mike McCue said Friday.

By KAYLEY MENDENHALL, Chronicle Staff Writer

The DOD job is one of several contracts the local biotech company has received in conjunction with ongoing research at Montana State University.

"This is the fourth year we’ve received DOD funding," McCue said.

For DOD, LigoCyte scientists are developing an anthrax vaccine along with other anti-viral drugs to combat potential bioterrorist agents like the Norwalk virus and brucella.

The company also recently entered into an agreement with Abbot Laboratories of Illinois to develop an antiinflammatory drug. McCue said the drug was first created by MSU scientists and LigoCyte licensed it for private development.

To demonstrate the connection between LigoCyte and the university, McCue handed MSU President Geoff Gamble a check for the research at a ceremony Friday at LigoCyte headquarters in the Advanced Technology Park.

Gamble accepted it and jokingly pocketed the check.

"Universities today need to know how to partner successfully if they are going to survive," he said. "The work between MSU and LigoCyte is exactly what we need to do in this state."

Thanks to that relationship, MSU recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for $1 million to develop compounds that can boost the human immune system, Gamble said.

"The NIH project was opened up only to university researchers working with private companies," Gamble said.

The five-year project is expected to total $10 million and the university will partner with LigoCyte to do the work.

"All this means we’ll be increasing our head count by 10 to 15 people over the next nine months," McCue said.


LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

920 Technology Boulevard, Suite C

Bozeman, Montana 59718

Phone: 406-585-2733

Fax: 406-585-2766

Email:[email protected]


LigoCyte has 30 employees now and he said many of the new recruits will be MSU students.

By employing MSU graduates and using MSU research, LigoCyte is helping to turn university knowledge into an economic engine for the state, said Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs.

"This is exactly what we talk about when we talk about economic development in Montana and what can happen," Ohs said. "These partnerships create a lot of good-paying jobs."

Kayley Mendenhall is at [email protected]

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