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Led by Attorney Ross Keogh, Montana Land Deal to Spur Domestic Vaccine Production and Local Jobs
December 23, 2020
Hamilton, MT


Parsons Behle & Latimer (Parsons) has completed the sale of a 44-acre property on Old Corvallis Road in Hamilton, Mont. that creates the potential for significant job creation in the area. The sale was finalized on Dec. 17, 2020. Parsons represented the seller, an entity owned by Ilona Bessenyey and her husband Peter Van Tuyn, whose 44-acre property has been part of the original Bitter Root Stock Farm, originally built and owned by copper baron Marcus Daly. Tonix Pharmaceuticals (Tonix) [Nasdaq:TNXP], a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, is the new owner of the site which it purchased for the construction of a vaccine development and commercial scale manufacturing facility. Tonix intends to follow and maintain Good Manufacturing Practices at the new Hamilton facility. Groundbreaking could occur as soon as Q1 2022. 

Bessenyey, part of the fifth-generation family ranch says, “Just like Marcus Daly did in the early days of Hamilton and the Bitter Root Stock Farm, the current generation of owners has always tried to keep the big picture in mind when making our decisions. We have worked for many years exploring and laying the foundation for a development just like this; one that combines a clean business advancing Hamilton’s bioscience strength with the opportunity for well-paying local jobs. We would like to thank the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority and their executive director Julie Foster for their vision and work over the many years it has taken to get to this point. As the sellers of the specific ranch property that was sold, my husband and I would also like to thank our counsel – Parsons’ Ross Keogh – who worked tirelessly and creatively, through a pandemic, to bring this deal to a close. We look forward to having Tonix as a new neighbor to the Bitter Root Stock Farm.”

Parsons attorney Ross P. Keogh says, “It was our pleasure to work with our clients to help actualize this environmentally-friendly and economically-beneficial transaction. Our firm’s ability to respond at the speed of today’s business environment helped ensure this transaction was a success. The property, located in a Targeted Economic Development District and an opportunity zone, shows the viability and unique prospects such tools can produce to capitalize targeted areas for development. We know how to use such tools to the benefit of our clients and the overall deal, and we are pleased to be a part of this transaction that should benefit many in the community for years to come.” Missoula-based Keogh specializes in real estate law, water, energy and natural resources law in the Intermountain West. Since June 2020, Parsons worked closely with its clients and Sterling Commercial Real Estate to complete the transaction. “As we saw with this deal, collaboration is the key to robust economic opportunity in Montana,” said Matt Mellott, lead broker with Sterling CRE. “Ravalli County officials, Julie Foster with the Ravalli County Economic Authority and the local seller all played critical roles in moving this project forward.”

Tonix President and Chief Executive Officer Seth Lederman, M.D. says Tonix seeks to be a leader in the re-domestication of American vaccine development and production, saying the company feels it is critical to bring the capabilities and biotech jobs back to the United States to finish the fight against COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics. Lederman says, “To manage COVID-19 in the future, we need a next generation COVID-19 vaccine that can be part of the standard childhood immunizations, like MMR for mumps, measles and rubella. The planned Montana facility reflects our commitment to the development of our vaccines and, along with the recent announcement of our new Advanced Development Center in Massachusetts, takes us a step closer to controlling and vertically integrating more of our development and manufacturing activities. We're excited to be part of Montana’s growing bioscience community and honored to be neighbors to the Bitter Root Stock Farm. We look forward to respecting and honoring the Daly family’s legacy in Ravalli County.”  

 

Media contact:
Dana Robinson
Marketing and Communications Manager
Parsons Behle & Latimer
Office: 801.536.6647 Mobile: 801.541.4625
drobinson@parsonsbehle.com