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Anne Marie Quinn

Montana Molecular

Anne Marie Quinn was well-established as a researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut when she made the decision to move to Bozeman, Montana in 2003.  Although New Haven is considered one of the “hot spots” for the bioscience industry, Anne Marie and her husband, Thom Hughes, were ready to return to a more balanced lifestyle and access to the recreational activities they enjoy. 

A desire to put years of research and experience to work in a unique venture, and an interest in growing Bozeman’s bioscience sector, led Anne Marie to start Montana Molecular in 2006. “I saw a really talented workforce coming out of MSU, with very few biotech job opportunities in Montana. The timing was ideal.”

Montana Molecular has now developed a suite of new and better, technologies for drug discovery that can be evaluated in the tissues most relevant to disease. These live-cell assays show exactly what happens behind the scenes when a particular drug compound is introduced to a cell, moving beyond conventional means of discovery with cutting-edge knowledge of cellular and molecular biology.  The idea sounds complex, but the result is simple:

“We’re developing entirely new tools that allow researchers to evaluate drug activity in specific cells, because drugs can have very different effects depending upon whether they are activated in heart, lung or brain, for example. Providing information about specific effects early in the discovery process, and long before clinical trials, could reduce side effects in patients and save an enormous amount of time and money in pharmaceutical development. “

“I’ve worked in biotech hotspots like San Diego and New Haven and have found the graduates coming out of MSU to be top notch. Being able to recruit and mentor young scientists from Montana is one of the most rewarding aspects of growing this company.”

The company received international recognition for their technologies when they were selected as a finalist for the SLAS Innovation Award, and The 2013 JALA Ten” Breakthroughs in Innovation.

 

Resources available to Montana Molecular at the state and local level proved to be extremely helpful in the company’s early days.  The Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology (MBRCT) helped bridge gaps in federal funding and Bozeman-based business incubator Tech Ranch helped with a business plan and office space. State matching funds for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants are also important to companies like Montana Molecular that need to invest heavily in R & D and patents before bringing a product to market. In January, Montana Molecular advanced to SBIR Phase II. “We could not have gotten to this level without Montana’s SBIR Matching Funds Program (MSMFP).  We leveraged a $30K investment into over $1.1M in new revenue and we were able to advance our technologies to commercialization.”

Montana Molecular employs two full time scientists, Paul Tewson, and Heather Butler - both alumni of MSU’s Cellular Biology and Neuroscience (CBN) program. Kelsey March, also a CBN major, will begin a student internship with the company in May. Looking to the future, Anne Marie sees the talent and resources she needs to grow her company in the community she’s happy to call home.

“I’ve worked in biotech hotspots like San Diego and New Haven and have found the graduates coming out of MSU to be top notch. Being able to recruit and mentor young scientists from Montana is one of the most rewarding aspects of growing this company.”

 

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Categories: Entrepreneur Profiles, BioScience, STEMNumber of views: 3676

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