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In 2018, Montana received one of only 7 national awards from the US Small Business Administration in support of ongoing efforts to enhance the bioscience ecosystem and workforce in the state.

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The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is a multidimensional program with seasoned stakeholders from the private sector, university, economic development, trade associations and others who already have boots on the ground providing technical assistance as well as support, training, and mentoring to new and established life science businesses, entrepreneurs and students.

Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative partners stand ready to serve in fostering the growth of bioscience in Montana with proven track records of collaborative program design and execution and integrated programs fostering innovation, technology commercialization, entrepreneurship and sustainable small business.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative 

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative consists of four key components.


  1. A platform to facilitate peer to peer engagement and messaging to the world about Montana’s strengths in meeting critical location factors and providing intellectual capital for the bioscience industry.

  2. Workforce development programs that align precisely with existing and anticipated industry need.

  3. Ongoing technical assistance to create a holistic continuum of support from startup ideation to export assistance.

  4. A gap fund, “The 4th F Fund” used to provide direct assistance to bioscience entrepreneurs in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of bioscience entrepreneurs. Beneficiaries will be asked to pay it forward should their commercial endeavor prove viable and profitable.

Montana’s long-standing expertise in fueling and feeding the world underpins our expertise in healing the world with pioneering research at our two state universities, agile bio startups and established pharma firms active in many different specialty areas such as neuroscience, TBI, Alzheimer’s, CRISPR gene editing research, alternatives to opioids, cancer vaccines, and more.

  • Southwestern Montana is home to a GSK manufacturing facility & Level IV Bioscience lab​

  • MonTEC technology incubator provides flexible physical space for startup bioscience firms​

  • Montana is home to 400+ bioscience entities

  • Montana State University and the University of Montana engage in cutting edge bio research, supplying a pipeline of skilled workers for the bioscience industry

  • Over 126 patents awarded since 2014 in bioscience related technology classes with innovation focus area primarily in medical and surgical devices, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and biochemistry

  • University of Montana is a Carnegie Research High Activity Institution with approximately $95MM in research activity annually 

  • McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences in Great Falls is a nationally recognized center for neurogenetic research on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other degenerative nerve diseases ​

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