A New Jersey biopharmaceutical company, Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., has purchased 44 acres on the northeast edge of Hamilton and plans to build a vaccine development and commercial manufacturing facility. According to a news release on its website, the company will use the Montana plant and a new facility in Massachusetts to help develop and produce vaccines.
The Tonix statement said their vaccine candidates are “led by modified horsepox vaccines, TNX-1800, a potential COVID-19 vaccine and TNX-801, a potential smallpox and monkeypox vaccine.”
The City Of Hamilton and the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority also worked with Tonix. Hamilton has a new TEDD (Targeted Economic Development District) which will help with infrastructure needs.
The new facility, which will be located on former Bitter Root Stock Farm property north of the Ravalli County Fairgrounds, is a short distance from GlaxoSmithKline’s production facility. Hamilton is also the site of Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the NIAID. In the company’s news release, Montana U.S. Senator Steve Daines was quoted, “Good news for Hamilton! It’s great to see Montana leading in the bioscience industry which will help support Montana jobs and end our reliance on other countries for critical vaccines and prescription drugs.” Governor Greg Gianforte said, “It’s no surprise that the bioscience industry is thriving in Montana. We have an unmatched work ethic. We’re problem solvers. And we do it all from one of the most beautiful places in the world.” Senator Jon Tester said, “The growing bioscience industry in Montana is good for our economy and will improve our public health.”
Tonix is developing treatments of the central nervous system including pain, neurologic, psychiatric and addiction, along with immunology treatment candidates. Tonix is also working on potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Years ago, the late Edgar Ribi, who established Ribi Immunochem at what is now GlaxoSmithKline, had hoped that Hamilton would attract more biopharmaceutical business. This is early in Tonix facility development, but if things go well, construction could start in spring of 2022.