Occupation?

Founder, President, CEO of Microbion Corp.

Age?

52

Where did you learn to ski?

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia

Where do you live now?

Bozeman

If you weren’t doing this, what would you do instead?

I would be a fly fishing guide on the Yellowstone River

When Dr. Brett Baker learned in the late 1990s that more than 100,000 people were dying annually from hospital-caused infections, he dove into a field that the World Health Organization has since called a “global health crisis.”

Many of these infections are influenced by biofilms, which are antibiotic resistant, Baker explained. More than 80 percent of all infections are related to biofilms, according to the National Institute of Health.

“At least 23,000 people are dying each year [from antibiotic resistant infections] in the U.S. alone,” said Baker, citing a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s worse in so many other places in the world.”

Baker, originally from Kamloops, British Columbia, founded Microbion Corp. in 2000 while living in Girdwood, Alaska. After receiving a $100,000 NIH grant, he moved the operation to Bozeman in 2005 to be closer to Montana State University’s Center for Biofilm Engineering – the world’s first and largest biofilm research institute.

Today, Microbion comprises a small group of specialized doctors and scientists focused on drug development and regulatory approvals relating to its patented bismuth-thiols, compounds that fight biofilm infections.

In addition to medical applications, the company is developing industrial applications for corrosion prevention in oil and gas pipelines and water filtration systems.

Microbion has received nearly $7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and the NIH, as well as some in-state programs, and Baker expects these products to be on the market within three years.

When he founded Microbion, Baker wasn’t sure he’d succeed, but he knew the biofilm problem was a serious issue.

“It helps to believe in yourself and in your ability to develop solutions to problems,” he said. “It’s very easy to think that someone else will do it, but I really encourage people to get involved to solve the problems they think are important.”

– Joseph T. O’Connor