Posted: Sep 11, 2013 10:43 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Sep 11, 2013 10:46 PM
In less than one week, some of the nation's biggest names in business will be in Big Sky Country as part of the Montana Jobs Summit.
One Montana company was completely transformed by attending a previous Summit.
Located in the heart of Bozeman, Takeda Vaccines is developing a product which is predicted to turn the medical world upside down.
Robert Bargatze, the Vice President for Science at Takeda Vaccines, said, "We've actually immunized individuals and showed that we can protect against the norovirus infections."
Bargatze says their work developing a vaccine for the stomach flu began in 1998 when the federal government needed a way to protect its troops from biodefense weapons.
The business - at the time called Ligocyte - came to crossroads in 2006 when government funding was running out.
So the leaders attended the Montana Economic Summit with the hope of networking with someone who could help.
Donald Beeman, Takeda's Executive Vice President, said, "So one of the individuals at the Economic Summit in 2006 or 2007 actually was the lead investor that later funded Ligocyte."
So Ligocyte had the product, the money and it just needed time to finish development, testing and approval of the vaccine.
"We were very fortunate to see this as an opportunity early on. So we were able to pull together the intellectual property, essentially patents, which cover production of this," Bargatze said.
The work of Ligocyte piqued the interest of Takeda Pharmaceutical and just last year the company was acquired.
Beeman and Bargatze say the successes of Ligocyte and Takeda were dependent on the Economic Summit, and access to talented scientists from MSU in Bozeman.
Beeman said, "The venture capitalists that funded the company loved coming to Montana and miss coming to Montana now that we have been acquired by Takeda. So it worked out really really well. Do I pinch myself that all this was able to be done here? I do."
The Summit begins on Monday in Butte with keynote speakers from Facebook, Google, Conoco, Philips and Fed Ex.