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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Bruce Krasnow
B ruce.Krasnow@state.nm.us
505-795-0119
Dec. 10, 2020
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes
Deputy Secretary Jon Clark

NTx set to Launch Major Expansion in New Mexico

STEM employer will add 116 jobs with LEDA assistance

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A home-grown biosciences company that can make New Mexico
a leader in the development and manufacturing of life-saving medicines will receive state
economic assistance as it expands into a new research and production center, Economic
Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today.
Nature’s Toolbox (NTx) is working to commercialize its cell-free technology that will
expedite the development and manufacturing of vaccines and pharmaceuticals using
mRNA and protein technology, now being studied and utilized in the fight against COVID19.
The company is set to bring $30 million in private investment to its new Rio Rancho
project and hire 116 employees with an average salary of $74,000 a year. The total
additional payroll associated with the expansion will be approximately $74.5 million over
the next 10 years. The direct economic impact over the decade is estimated at $190
million.

Biosciences is one of the target industry sectors identified by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
to diversify the economy and bring higher-paying jobs to New Mexico. NTx has also
committed to work with New Mexico universities to develop the state as a Center of
Excellence in the bioscience sector by assisting with paid internships and mentorship
programs. The company is already working with the STEM Boomerang program to bring
New Mexico college graduates back for careers in science and technology.
“NTx is just the latest example of how our focus on STEM is paying off for New Mexico,”
said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “It is not just creating much needed good-paying jobs
now, but paving the way for a stronger and more sustainable economy for decades to
come.”

The New Mexico Economic Development Department has pledged $1.75 million to NTx
when the company occupies and builds out a 25,000-square-foot office and manufacturing
center at the Enchanted Hills Commerce Center in Rio Rancho. Another $3.25 million
would be awarded to support future job growth and expansion of the facility’s footprint to
handle high-volume manufacturing and emergency response.
The startup has outgrown its current space in Santa Fe and is on track to relocate and
expand its workforce in early 2021.
“NTx is a company that launched in New Mexico and is now expanding in the state and
adding high-paying jobs with assistance from LEDA,” Secretary Keyes said. “New Mexico
has proven to be a recognized location for excellence in biosciences. The state investment
in NTx will help build new partnerships in this industry and advance these innovative
technologies.”

NTx is setting a new benchmark in drug development with its bioinformatics and biomanufacturing platforms. Because the process does not rely on cellular fermentation, it
allows for rapid screenings of genetic data to identify and produce encoded targets, which
expedites the characterization of novel materials and accelerates preclinical drug discovery
efforts.

NTx co-founder and president Alex Koglin studied structural biology at the University of
Frankfurt. After completing a Human Frontier Science Fellowship in the laboratories of
Christopher T. Walsh at Harvard Medical School, he came to New Mexico to work at Los
Alamos National Laboratory in 2009 as the J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow where he
specialized in antibacterial drug resistance as part of the biosecurity and defense program.
As part of that work, Koglin realized how out of date most anti-bacterial drug research had
become as even small scale manufacturing for early drug testing requires large cultures or
extensive organic synthesis efforts with single-use equipment that needs sophisticated
maintenance and produces massive amounts of waste.
Koglin knew the work could be completed faster and more efficiently to accelerate drug
discovery and streamline production, scaling from the benchtop to the pharmacy shelf to
make drugs more accessible.

“We’ve known for a long time that manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, primarily of
biologicals, needs to be modernized – vaccines, antibodies, insulin, and hormone and
enzyme replacement therapies – it’s a massive effort and a long timeline,” Koglin said. “We
truly believe we can provide the technology to replace their manufacturing.”
Koglin left LANL in 2015 to start NTx and set up research offices at the Santa Fe
Community College’s (SFCC) Trades and Advanced Technology Center. He said the
company is growing quickly and it was not possible to remain at SFCC. The technology and
investment needed to expand is expensive and without the state and local investments,
NTx might very well have left New Mexico.

The city of Rio Rancho is the fiscal agent for the project at 7701 Innovation Way, 87144,
and is also supporting the expansion with up to $500,000 in local LEDA.
“I am very excited at the prospect of welcoming NTx, a cutting-edge, innovation-leading
bioscience company, to Rio Rancho,” Mayor Gregg Hull said. “The Enchanted Hills
Commerce Center has long been an economic engine for our community. As NTx looked to
accelerate its growth potential and stay in New Mexico, it landed right here in Rio Rancho
where we have strived to build robust infrastructure, a pro-business environment, and to
cultivate economic diversity and growth. I thank the Governor, the Secretary, and the
State, and I look forward to seeking our governing body’s support on this tremendous
opportunity.”

“We have a lot of high-tech jobs and a lot of bioscience activity here in Rio Rancho,” said
Matthew Geisel, the City of Rio Rancho Economic Development Director. “Alex [Koglin] is
already in touch with a lot of the graduates from STEM Boomerang who want to come
back to New Mexico. These are the high-tech jobs of the future. The jobs that will keep our
kids here and bring our kids home.”
“NTx has developed revolutionary technology that will speed up the production,
manufacturing and distribution of high quality vaccines and increase access to critical
medicine across the globe,” added Fred Shepherd, president and CEO of the Sandoval
Economic Alliance. “They are a great example of the type of company that can grow and
prosper in our community as we strive to become a leader in the bioscience industry. We
look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow and expand in our
community.”

Charles McMillan, a former director at Los Alamos National Laboratory who serves on the
NTx board of directors, said there is more awareness now of the potential of NTx. “Both
Moderna and Pfizer are using mRNA science in their COVID-19 vaccines, and there is
more broad awareness about its safety and efficiency,” McMillan said.
“Historically many vaccines have been produced through fermentation processes. The flu
vaccine, for example, through egg cultures. That technology is slow and expensive, and it’s
very difficult to produce high-quality materials. It appears with this mRNA technology,
you can produce high-quality materials at a controlled cost very quickly. That’s why this is
so important,” McMillan said. “The new technology has a small footprint and once
established can be deployed in rural and developing areas of the globe.”
McMillan said that NTx is working closely with both Los Alamos and Sandia National
Laboratories. “Both LANL and Sandia are strong in fundamental bioscience research and
being able to add leading-edge manufacturing in close proximity is going to make for
strong partnerships in the state.”
The LEDA award will be paid out in phases as NTx reaches economic development
benchmarks as specified in the Project Participation Agreement. The project is also subject
to approval by the city of Rio Rancho at an upcoming public meeting of the Governing
Body.

###

An NTx employee assembles a bioreactor inside a
glove box in the NTx analytical laboratory in
Santa Fe, NM.

An NTx employee operates a fast protein liquid
chromatography system at the NTx laboratory in
Santa Fe, NM.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department’s mission is to improve the lives of New Mexico families by
increasing economic opportunities and providing a place for businesses to thrive.
New Mexico Economic Development Department
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