Rocky Mountain spotted fever was first recognized in 1896 in the Snake River Valley.
The Rocky Mountain Laboratory was established in Hamilton in 1921, and the McLaughlin Research Institute
began in 1954 with the arrival of Dr. Ernst Eichwald, recruited as a pathologist by the Montana Deaconess Hospital.
We invite you to learn about these and other discoveries, the entrepreneurs, the scientists,
political leaders, and research institutions that are the foundation of the life science industry in Montana.
Tell us about Montana's BioHistory. If you are aware of a notable event, person,
organization/company or accomplishment that we should include,
please e-mail: BioHistory@InfoResource.org
1848 -- American Association for the Advancement of Science founded.
American Association for the Advancement of Science founded in 1848
marked the emergence of a national scientific community in the United States, and was the first organization
established to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level and to represent the interests of
all its disciplines.
Today, the AAAS serves nearly 300 affiliated societies and academies of science and publishes the
peer-reviewed general science journal Science. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance
science and serve society" through initiatives that include science policy, international programs, science education,
and public understanding of science.
1859 -- Charles Darwin published "The Origin of Species."
In 1859, British naturalist Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of
Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"
in which he postulated his theory of evolution that explained how the diverse of
species on Earth evolved from a simple, singled-celled ancestor.
From 1831-1836, Darwin served as a naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle -- a British
science expedition around the world. In South America Darwin discovered fossils of extinct animals
that were similar to modern species, and on the Galapagos Islands, located west of Equador,
he noticed many variations of plants and animals of the same general type as those in
South America. Throughout the expedition Darwin studied plants and animals
and collected specimens for further study.
Upon his return to London, Darwin conducted thorough research of his notes and specimens, and
out of his study grew several related theories: evolution did occur; evolutionary
change was gradual, requiring thousands to millions of years; the primary mechanism for
evolution was a process called natural selection; and the millions of species alive
today arose from a single original life form through a branching process called "specialization."
Darwin's theory of evolutionary selection holds that variation within species occurs randomly
and that the survival or extinction of each organism is determined by that organism's ability
to adapt to its environment. Darwin's theory of evolution remains the foundation of modern
1865 -- Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics, presents his laws of heredity.
"In 1859 I obtained a very fertile
descendant with large, tasty seeds from a first generation hybrid. Since in the following
year, its progeny retained the desirable characteristics and were uniform, the variety was
cultivated in our vegetable garden, and many plants were raised every year up to
1865. (Gregor Mendel to Carl Nägeli, April 1867).
An educational resource for teachers and students.
1887 -- Marine Hospital Service Hygienic Laboratory (National Institutes of Health) founded.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) traces its roots to 1887,
when a one-room laboratory was created within the Marine Hospital Service (MHS), predecessor agency to the
U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). The MHS was established in 1798 to provide for the medical care of
merchant seamen -- charged by Congress with examining passengers on arriving ships for clinical signs of
infectious diseases, such as cholera and yellow fever, to prevent epidemics.
During the 1870s and 1880s, scientists in Europe presented compelling evidence that microscopic organisms
were the causes of several infectious diseases, and MHS officials closely followed these developments.
In 1887, Joseph Kinyoun, a MHS physician trained in the new bacteriological
methods, set up a one-room laboratory in the Marine Hospital at Stapleton, Staten Island,
New York. Kinyoun called this facility a "laboratory of hygiene" in imitation of German facilities, and within
a few months, he identified the cholera bacillus and used his Zeiss microscope to
demonstrate it to his colleagues as confirmation of their clinical diagnoses.
The Biologics Control Act enacted in 1902 had major consequences for the Hygienic Laboratory. It charged
the laboratory with regulating the production of vaccines and antitoxins, making it a regulatory agency
four years before passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act. The danger posed by biological products that had
emerged from bacteriologic discoveries resulted from their production in animals and their administration by
injection. In 1901, thirteen children in St. Louis died after receiving diphtheria antitoxin contaminated
with tetanus spores. This tragedy spurred Congress to pass the Biologics Control Act, and between 1903-1907
standards were established and licenses issued to pharmaceutical firms for making smallpox and rabies vaccines,
diphtheria and tetanus antitoxins, and various other antibacterial antisera. (In 1972, responsibility
for regulation of biologics was transferred to the Food and Drug Administration).
(Photo: courtesy of the NIH Almanac)
In 1912 MHS was reorganized, renamed the Public Health Service (PHS)
and authorized to conduct research into noncontagious diseases and into the pollution of
streams and lakes in the U.S. During World War I, the PHS attended primarily to sanitation of areas
around military bases in the U.S., and when the 1918 influenza pandemic struck Washington, physicians from the
laboratory were pressed into service treating patients in the District of Columbia because so many local
doctors had fallen ill. In 1930, the Ransdell Act changed the name of the Hygienic Laboratory to the National Institute
of Health (NIH) and authorized the establishment of fellowships for research into basic biological and medical
problems. The roots of this act extended to 1918, when chemists who had worked with the Chemical Warfare
Service in World War I sought to establish an institute in the private sector to apply fundamental knowledge
in chemistry to problems of medicine. In 1937, the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) was created with sponsorship from every Senator in Congress, and was authorized
to award grants to nonfederal scientists for research on cancer and to fund fellowships at NCI for young
During World War II, the NIH focused almost entirely on war-related problems. At the close of the war,
PHS leaders guided through Congress the 1944 Public Health Service Act, which defined the shape of medical
research in the post-war world. Two provisions were especially important: 1) In 1946 the NCI grants program was
expanded to the entire NIH, and the program grew from just over $4 million in 1947, to more than $100 million in
1957, and to $1 billion in 1974. The entire NIH budget expanded from $8 million in 1947 to more than $1 billion in
1966, now fondly remembered as "the golden years" of NIH expansion.
Accompanying growth in the grants program was the proliferation of new categorical institutes, and from
1946-1949, voluntary health organizations moved Congress to create institutes for research on mental health,
dental diseases, and heart disease. In 1948, language in the National Heart Act made the name of the
umbrella organization the National Institutes of Health. 2) The 1944 PHS Act authorized NIH to conduct clinical
research, and after the war Congress provided funding to build a research hospital, now called the Warren
Grant Magnuson Clinical Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The Center which opened in 1953 with 540 beds
was designed to bring research laboratories into close proximity with hospital wards in order to promote
productive collaboration between laboratory scientists and clinicians.
(Photo: National Archives and Records Administration photograph, courtesy of the Franklin Delano
Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York)
The NIH today, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency
for conducting and supporting medical research and is composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, providing
leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world.
1893 -- The Agricultural College of the State of Montana founded.
On February 16, 1893, the Agricultural College of the State of Montana was founded
as the state's land-grant college. In the 1920's, the institution's was known as
Montana State College and remained so until July 1, 1965, when, in recognition of the advances
in the College's commitment to scientific and humanistic research, the state Legislature
changed the college's name to Montana State University (MSU).
Today, MSU has a national and international reputation for its excellence in undergraduate
and graduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, agriculture, architecture, education,
engineering, health and human development, and nursing. Students receive a high-quality,
well-rounded education and training for professional careers in the University’s
three colleges – arts and sciences, forestry and conservation, and technology – and six
schools – journalism, law, business, education, pharmacy and the fine arts.
1893 -- University of Montana founded.
The University of Montana (UM), located in Missoula,
was founded in 1893. Today, UM is a magnet not only for top-notch teachers and researchers,
but also for students from across the country and around the globe.
1896 -- Rocky Mountain spotted fever first recognized.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever was first recognized in 1896 in the Snake River Valley of Idaho
and was originally called "black measles" because of the characteristic rash. It was a dreaded
and frequently fatal disease that affected hundreds of people in this area. By the early 1900s,
the geographic distribution of the disease encompassed parts of the U.S. from Washington and
Montana to California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
In response to this severe problem, the Rocky Mountain Laboratory was established in
Hamilton, Montana. Beginning in the 1930s, it became evident that this disease occurred in
many areas of the United States and it is now recognized that this disease is broadly
distributed throughout the continental U,S., as well as southern Canada, Central America,
Mexico, and parts of South America. Between 1981 and 1996, this disease was reported from
every U.S. state except Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and Alaska.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever remains a serious and potentially life-threatening infectious
disease today. Despite the availability of effective treatment and advances in medical care,
approximately 3%-5% of individuals who become ill with Rocky Mountain spotted fever still die
from the infection. However, effective antibiotic therapy has dramatically reduced the number
of deaths caused by Rocky Mountain spotted fever; before the discovery of tetracycline and
chloramphenicol in the late 1940s, as many as 30% of persons infected with R. rickettsii died.
1899 -- Flathead Lake Biological Station established.
Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) established near Bigfork in 1899
by Dr. Morton J. Elrod, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Montana, is one of the oldest active biological field
research stations in the United States. The Station was moved to Yellow Bay in 1908.
Since its founding, students from all over the world have visited the station to learn about biology. By 1977,
year-round research was being conducted at the Morton J. Elrod Laboratory, and in 1981 with the construction of the state-of-the-art Schoonover
Freshwater Research Laboratory, the Flathead Lake Biological Station became one of the finest freshwater research facilities in the country.
Today, scientists at FLBS strive for discoveries that advance understanding of natural and cultural
inter-relationships in an ecosystem context with research focused on freshwater: rain, snow, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers,
floodplains, wetlands, groundwaters and watersheds. Much of FLBS research is done locally in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.
Four laboratory buildings house the inside biology, limnology, aquatic ecology, and terrestrial ecology labs and specialized research
1911 -- The Billings Clinic founded.
The Billings Clinic evolved from the general
practice of Dr. Arthur J. Movius who founded his Billings practice in 1911. Movius was trained with a year's
internship at a Minneapolis, Minnesota, hospital and had experience in the primitive surgery of the day.
The practice grew and in 1939, the group devised a plan to bring in physicians as partners to the practice,
and the name was changed to The Billings Clinic. Growth of the clinic after World War II required expanded
facilities. In 1950 building construction began across the street from Billings Deaconess Hospital.
The Billings Clinic has grown from two physicians into the largest multi-specialty group practice in the region.
Its 250+ physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners offer 35 specialties ranging from allergy to urology.
There are clinics in three locations in Billings and throughout the region in Colstrip, Columbus, Miles City and
Red Lodge, Montana and Cody, Wyoming.
In 1993, the Billings Clinic and Deaconess Medical Center merged to become an integrated health care organization
named Deaconess Billings Clinic. In 2005, Deaconess Billings Clinic changed its name to Billings Clinic. Today,
Billings Clinic, provides inpatient and outpatient care serving people in a four-state region.
1918 -- Spanish Influenza Pandemic.
It is estimated that between 25 and 40 million people died
from the the influenza outbreak that began in 1918, swept across America in a week and
around the world in three months. In all, between 500,000 and 700,000 Americans
--civilians and soldiers-- died from the influenza, more than were lost in World War I,
II, and the Korean and Viet Nam wars combined.
In September 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a five-year,
$12.5 million grant to five institutions that will collaborate to study
genes constructed from 1918 flu-virus particles salvaged from the bodies of World
War I soldiers and the exhumed Brevig Mission, Alaska resident. The Institutions include
the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.; Mount Sinai School of Medicine,
New York; Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA; the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention; and the University of Washington. The ultimate goal is to use knowledge
gained from the study to develop vaccines, influenza medications and diagnostic tests to
prevent a similar influenza outbreak.
1921 -- Rocky Mountain Laboratory established in Hamilton.
The founding of the Rocky Mountain Laboratory (RML)
can be traced back to westward migration when early settlers in the Montana foothills of
the Bitteroot Range of the Rocky Mountains were plagued with a disease known as
"black measles," or "spotted fever," now known as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
In 1902, the U.S. Public Health Service sent out a research team to find the cause.
Tents, cabins, and an old schoolhouse were used for housing the early Rocky Mountain
Laboratory. In 1906, Dr. Howard Ricketts, a young pathologist from the University of Chicago,
showed that the disease was transmitted by the bite of the Rocky Mountain wood
tick (Dermacentor andersoni). Returning each summer to continue his work, by 1909, he had isolated
the bacterial organism that was responsible for spotted fever, and that organism was
later named Rickettsia rickettsii in his honor.
Unfortunately, a state budget shortage made it questionable whether Montana could fund Ricketts’ continuing
research during the summer of 1910. Because of the uncertainty, he accepted funding to work on a typhus
outbreak in Mexico City . Shortly before his work there was concluded, Ricketts himself contracted
typhus and died soon after.
In the years that followed, a number of state and federally funded researchers continued their investigations
of spotted fever. Within a few years Drs. Roscoe Spencer and Ralph Parker produced the first effective vaccine
against the disease by emulsifying infected tick tissue in which the rickettsiae had been inactivated.
The early facilities in which spotted fever research were rough and limited.
Ricketts worked in tents set up in the yard of the Northern Pacific Hospital north of the valley in Missoula while
others worked out of cabins and farmhouses, and Dr. Parker for a time conducted his studies in a woodshed.
Finally, in 1921, Parker found an abandoned schoolhouse on the west side of the valley and arranged to have it
rented by the U.S. Public Health Service. The "Schoolhouse Lab," as it was known, was the facility where
Dr. Spencer and Parker ground up tick tissue to produce their vaccine.
In 1926, the Board of Entomology asked the state legislature to provide enough money to build a modern
entomological laboratory. In the spring of 1927, the legislature appropriated $60,000 for the new building
and a site in the town of Hamilton was chosen. The building, completed in early 1928, provided
space for the state administered control programs and rented space to the Public Health Service for Dr. Parker
and his colleagues to continue research and vaccine production. By 1930, the laboratory employed four
professionals and 22 support staff. That same year Parker was appointed scientific director,
a role he continued in for the next 19 years. In February of 1932, the federal government purchased the
facility from the state of Montana for $68,757 and several of the Board of Entomology employees were
transferred to the Public Health Service.
In 1937, RML became part of the National Institute of Health. During World War II, the laboratory joined in the
war effort by becoming a "national vaccine factory" producing vaccines to protect soldiers against spotted fever,
typhus, and yellow fever. After the war, work at the lab returned to its primary mission of basic scientific
research of infectious diseases. In 1948, the National Institute of Health was reorganized into the National
Institutes of Health, and RML became part of National Microbiological Institute. In 1955, Congress changed the
name of the Microbiological Institute to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Today, RML is a state-of-the-art research facility occupied by world-class scientists
with a mission to study infectious microbes that cause disease in humans and animals.
Because of its long history and expertise in infectious disease research, RML is
poised to play a leading role in the nation’s fight against bioterrorism and emerging
infections. NIAID now plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot Integrated Research
Facility housing laboratories with BSL-2 and BSL-3 laboratory suites similar to those
already on the RML campus, and a suite of laboratories designed to operate at
Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4). Even before the current emphasis on biodefense, RML
scientists were studying organisms that cause a variety of infectious diseases,
including plague, Lyme disease, rabies, HIV, tuberculosis, transmissible spongiform
encephalopathies and Q fever.
1933 -- Thomas Hunt Morgan awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his
chromosome theory of heredity.
Thomas Hunt Morgan pioneered the new science of genetics through experimental
research with the fruit fly (Drosophila), laying the foundations for the future of biology. On
the basis of fly-breeding experiments he demonstrated that genes are linked in a series on
chromosomes and that they determine indentifiable, hereditary traits.
1943-1977 -- Mike Mansfield represents Montana in U.S. Congress.
served Montana as Representative and Senator in the U.S. Congress for thiry-four years, and his actions
had an enduring impact in the Big Sky state. (Photo: Mike Mansfield courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office)
Mansfield served as a Representative from 1943-1952, and U.S. Senator from 1952-1977 serving as chairman, Special
Committee on Campaign Expenditures, Democratic whip (1957-1961), majority leader (1961-1977), chairman, Committee on
Rules and Administration, Select Committee on Secret and Confidential Documents, and Special Committee on Secret and
Confidential Documents. Manfield also server as Ambassador to Japan from 1977-1988; and was awarded the Presidential
Medal of Freedom in 1989. Examples of Mansfield's impact in Montana includes:
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana, created in 1983 as an academic unit of the
university, the Center honors the lives and legacy of Senator Mike Mansfield and his wife, Maureen Hayes Mansfield,
to whom the Senator gave credit for many of his accomplishments.
The Mansfield Library at the University of Montana-Missoula that
furthers education and "resources for the mind."
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation
was created in 1983 to advance Maureen and Mike Mansfield's life-long efforts to promote understanding and cooperation
among nations and peoples of Asia and the United States.
1947 -- Transistor invented at AT&T's Bell Laboratories.
The transistor, the invention that marked the dawn of the
information age, was invented by John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain at AT&T's Bell Laboratories. Bardeen,
Shockley and Brattain were awarded the 1956
Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of the transistor effect.
The double helix structure of DNA, the hereditary molecule is revealed by
two scientists, James D. Watson and Francis Crick. This is one of the key
discoveries of the century. Watson and Crick shared the 1962
Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with Maurice Wilkins for their discoveries
concerning the molecular structure of nuclear acids and its significance for information
transfer in living material.
1954 -- McLaughlin Research Institute established.
McLaughlin Research Institute is an
independent, non-profit research organization in Great Falls, Montana near the Rocky Mountain
Front. Institute research focuses on understanding the genetic control of normal development
and disease susceptibility using the mouse as a model system.
The Institute began in 1954 with the arrival of Dr. Ernst Eichwald, recruited as a
pathologist by the Montana Deaconess Hospital. Eichwald's work in the Laboratory for
Experimental Medicine focused on tissue transplantation and
transplant rejection. Early work at the Institute by Eichwald and later by Dr. Jack
Stimpfling played an important role in the eventual development of successful protocols
for organ transplantation in humans. (Photo: Dr. Ernst Eichwald & Dr. Jack Stimpfling in
front of one of two abandoned grocery stores that served as temporary homes for the
Laboratory for Experimental Medicine, predecessor to the McLaughlin Research Institute.
Courtesy: McLaughlin Research Institute)
In 1964, Eichwald recruited Jack H. Stimpfling from the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor,
Maine. In 1966, space contstraints at Deaconess Hospital forced relocation into two
abandoned mom and pop grocery stores, The shelves served as racks for mouse cages and the
checkout counters became lab benches. In 1967, with support from local contractor John L.
McLaughlin, the McLaughlin Research Institute opened its doors. (Photo: Dr. Jack Stimpfling,
Courtesy: McLaughlin Research Institute)
Eichwald returned to the University of Utah 1968 where he became Chairman of the
Department of Pathology. After Eichwald's departure, Stimpfling was the sole scientist
at the Institute making major contributions in immunology and immunogenetics. Stimpfling
devoted his career to the identification and characterization of H2 recombinants,
developing a panel of congenic strains with crossovers within the complex that were used by
scientists worldwide during the golden age of immunobiology.
The Institute is supported by a number of scientists including Irv Weissman, David
Baltimore and Montana native Leroy Hood, the later two current members of McLaughlin's
Scientific Advisory Committee. In 1988, Stimpfling's retirement necessitated a major reorginization
that through the efforts of Institute and Columbus Hospital staff, community leaders, the
state legislature, and Montana's congressional delegation, a combination of state and federal
funding was obtained in 1991 for construction of a new research laboratory. (Photo: Dr. Leroy
Hood, courtesy Institute for Systems Biology)
Now retired, Eichwald continues daily work in his lab and is a valued friend and advisor
to the McLaughlin Research Institute, as well as to his colleagues in Utah.
Today, MRI's research is built on its historical strength in mammalian genetics, and its
transgenic mouse facility with both pronuclear and blastocyst microinjection capabilities.
Genes have been ablated by Institute scientists using homologous recombination and numerous
conventional transgenic lines have been produced.
1958 -- Integrated circuit invented.
Jack Kilby, an engineer at
Texas Instruments shows only a transistor and other components on a slice of
germanium. This invention (7/16-by-1/16-inches in size), called an integrated
circuit, revolutionized the electronics industry. Kilby was awarded
the 2000 Nobel Prize in
Physics for his invention of the integrated circuit.
(Photo: Jack Kilby courtesy of Texas Instruments)
1961 -- President John F. Kennedy expands U.S. Space Program
Listen to President John F. Kennedy's speech in
his historic message to a joint session of the Congress, on May 25, 1961 declared,
"...I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade
is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." This goal was
achieved when astronaut Neil A. Armstrong became the first human to set foot upon the
Moon at 10:56 p.m. EDT, July 20, 1969. Shown in the background are, (left) Vice
President Lyndon Johnson, and (right) Speaker of the House Sam T. Rayburn. The expansion of
the U.S. Space Program resulted in the development of a wide range of technology with
enormous benefit to human and animal kind.
(Photo: Courtesy of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration)
1969 -- Man walks on the moon.
In July of 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, American astronauts, made
history by becoming the first men to walk on the moon.
Listen to Neil Armstrong's first words as he steps onto the lunar
surface (66 kb .wav file).
(Photo: Courtesy of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration)
An important benefit of the Apollo Lunar Program and
other NASA programs is the ever-growing pipeline of technology that improves human and
veterinary healthcare diagnostics and therapeutics.
1969 -- Victor McKusick publishes "Mendelian Inheritance in Man".
Victor McKusick, widely acknowledged as the father of medical genetics, spent his career studying
the genetic basis of diseases and disorders with the belief that such an understanding could lead
to new methods of diagnosis and treatment. He studied, identified, and mapped genes responsible for
inherited conditions such as Marfan syndrome and dwarfism (specifically in Amish communities).
In 1969, he proposed the idea of mapping the human genome, over 30 years before the Human
Genome Project was established.
McKusick, a graduate of Johns Hopkins (M.D. 1946), spent his entire career there and founded
the Division of Medical Genetics in 1957, the first research center and clinic of its kind. In
1969 he published the 1st edition of his
book "Mendelian Inheritance of Man",
one of the most comprehensive collections of inherited disease genes. In 2002, McKusick received the
highest scientific honor in the U.S., the National Medal of Science.
1971 -- NASDAQ Stock Market founded.
Nasdaq, founded February 8, 1971, is now the largest U.S. electronic stock
market. With approximately 3,300 companies, it lists more companies and, on
average, trades more shares per day than any other U.S. market. NASDAQ is
home to companies that are leaders across all areas of business including
technology, retail, communications, financial services, transportation, media,
biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical.
The modern era of biotechnology begins when Stanley Cohen of
Stanford University and Herbert Boyer of the University of
California at San Francisco successfully recombine ends of bacterial DNA after splicing a
toad gene in between. They call their accomplishment recombinant DNA,
but the media prefers using the term genetic engineering. (Photo: Courtesy Stanley Cohen)
1974 -- Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
John N. Erlenborn, the ranking Republican on the House Committee, was responsible for
bringing the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to a floor vote, and
is one of the ERISA’s "Founding Fathers." Together with Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY), Senator
Pete Williams (D-NJ) and Congressman John Dent (D-PA), Erlenborn crafted provisions and
participated in negotiations that were instrumental to the enactment of ERISA which was - and
remains - the single most important legislation governing employee benefit plans in the United
States providing an important source of financial investment for the stock market.
(Photos: Jacob Javits and Pete Williams courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office).
1975 -- Monoclonal antibodies produced.
In 1975, Georges Köhler and César Milstein, showed how monoclonal antibodies can be generated by
isolating individual fused myeloma cells.
1976 -- Genentech, founder of the biotechnology industry, established.
In 1976, Genentech was founded by venture capitalist
Robert Swanson and biochemist Dr. Herbert Boyer. In the early 1970s, Boyer and
geneticist Stanley Cohen at Stanford University pioneered recombinant DNA technology.
Excited by the breakthrough, Swanson called Boyer who agreed to give the young entrepreneur
10 minutes of his time. Swanson's enthusiasm for the technology resulted in a three hour meeting
and at its conclusion, Genentech was born.
Within a few short years Swanson and Boyer invented a new industry - biotechnology.
In 1980, Genentech issued its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and raised $35 million
with an offering that jumped from $35 a share to a high of $88 after less than an hour on the
market. The event was one of the largest stock run-ups ever, and that event set the stage for
future biotechnolgy industry offerings.
Genentech was initially broadly focused in three areas including food processing,
industrial chemicals, and human health care. In 1982, Eli Lilly & Co. which had acquired
worldwide rights to Genenetch's recombinant human insulin (1978) received FDA approval to
market the product -- the first biotechnology therapeutic to reach the marketplace.
Beginning in 1983, Genentech became solely focused on human therapeutics
and diagnostics, and in 1985, Genentech received approval from FDA to market its first product,
Protropin® (somatrem for injection) growth hormone for children with growth hormone deficiency
— the first recombinant pharmaceutical product to be manufactured and marketed by a
biotechnology company. In 1990, Genentech and Roche Holding Ltd. of Basel, Switzerland completed a
$2.1 billion merger. Today, Genentech is among the world's leading biotech companies with
multiple protein-based products on the market for serious or life-threatening medical
1980 -- U.S. Supreme Court ruled man-made organism patentable.
Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds five-to-four the patentability of
genetically altered organisms, opening the door to greater patent protection for any
modified life forms.
In 1972, Chakrabarty, a microbiologist, filed a patent
application, assigned to the General Electric Co. for a human-made genetically engineered
bacterium capable of breaking down multiple components of crude oil. Because of this
property, which is possessed by no naturally occurring bacteria, Chakrabarty's invention
was believed to have significant value for the treatment of oil spills. The application
asserted 36 claims related to Chakrabarty's invention of "a bacterium from the genus
Pseudomonas containing therein at least two stable energy-generating plasmids, each of
said plasmids providing a separate hydrocarbon degradative pathway.
Opinions: Chief Justice Warren Burger delivered the opinion
of the Court, in which justices Potter Stewart, Harry Blackmun, William Rehnquist, and
John Paul Stevens joined. William Brennan filed a dissenting opinion, in which Byron
White, Thurgood Marshall, and Lewis Powell joined.
1980 -- Bayh-Dole Act provides for university technology transfer.
H.R.6933, Public Law: 96-517, December 12, 1980. A bill to amend title
35 of the United States Code. This Act known as the Bayh-Dole Act provided for the legal transfer of research and
technology originating from U.S. universities and federal laboratories to private
companies for commercialization. Technology transfer offices are now common in
universities and federal laboratories and are the technology foundation for numerous
biotechnology and medical device companies. (Photos: Birch Bayh and
Robert Dole courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office)
The U.S. Human Genome
Project was established -- a 13-year effort coordinated by the U.S.
Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The project, originally
planned to last 15 years, was expected to be completed by 2003 due to
rapid technological advances.
Identify all the estimated 80,000 genes in human DNA,
Determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical bases that make up human DNA,
Store this information in databases,
Develop tools for data analysis, and
Address the ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise from the project.
1993 -- Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) founded.
Organization is the world's largest organization to serve and represent the
biotechnology industry. BIO's leadership and service-oriented guidance have helped advance
the industry and bring the benefits of biotechnology to people everywhere.
1993 -- Kary B. Mullis awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
PCR allows scientists to quickly replicate small strands of DNA, greatly simplifying
the sequencing and cloning of genes. First presented in 1985, PCR has become one of
the most widespread methods of analyzing DNA. Notably, PCR requires the heat-stable enzyme
Taq (Thermus Aquaticus) which originated from hot springs located in Yellowstone
1998 -- LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals founded.
LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals founded in Bozeman
by Robert F. Bargatze, Ph.D., and John W. Jutila, Ph.D. from Montana State University. LigoCyte
is focused on mucosal immunology to the discovery and development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines for
the prevention of inflammatory and infectious diseases. LigoCyte’s world-class scientists and leading-edge
technologies are focused on the clinical development of lead candidates to establish strategic relationships
within the pharmaceutical industry.
1998 -- Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation founded.
Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation
is a non-profit partnership between St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center and The University of Montana for
the specific purpose of linking neuroscience research and patient care. The Institute was Conceived in 1997 by a
group of collaborators that began planning an organization that would link basic research to patient care.
Included in the planning were clinicians from the St. Patrick Hospital, faculty researchers from The University of Montana,
and senior administrators from both institutions. Dr. Howard Chandler, a neurosurgeon, and Professors Richard Bridges and
Diana Lurie at the University of Montana's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences were instrumental in the
Institute's early development.
In 1998, the Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation officially became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Through collaborations fostered by the Institute, experts in research and clinical medicine develop innovations in patient
care to help those afflicted with diseases of the nervous system for the citizens of Montana and beyond.
2001 -- Human Genome Project draft sequence published.
The February 16 issue of Science and February
15 issue of Nature contained the working draft of the human genome
sequence (U.S. Human Genome
Project). Nature papers included initial analysis of the descriptions of the sequence
generated by the publicly sponsored Human Genome Project, while Science publications focused
on the draft sequence reported by the private company, Celera Genomics.
Montana Bioscience Alliance (MBA)
is a non-profit association that serves as a hub for Montana’s biotechnology companies, entrepreneurs, laboratories,
hospitals, clinics and universities to commercialize, grow and sustain globally competitive bioscience companies --
ultimately to create high-quality jobs and economic opportunity in Montana.
2009 -- Year of Science launched by the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
Year of Science
launched by the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) will embark on a celebratory
journey with you to share how science works, what it is like to be a scientist, and why science matters.
In nearly every state, participants in the celebration will demonstrate how we know about our natural world
and why science continues to be so vitally important to our communities, our country, and the world.
BioEvolution & BioHistory Posters -- State- and province-based
BioEvolution and BioHistory posters that provide a historical foundation for understanding the origins
of the biotechnology, medical device, pharmaceutical and broader life science industries in each respective
state or province.