Inimmune Corporation, a startup biotechnology company located in Missoula Montana, recently received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award in the amount of $176,000 from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The six-month grant will fund early discovery research efforts at Inimmune to develop new immunotherapy drugs for treating and preventing upper respiratory tract infections, including influenza. This award is an extension of the work initiated under a Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology (MBRCT) grant received by Inimmune in 2017.
“We are very excited about this Phase I SBIR award from NIAID, as it demonstrates the value and importance of the ongoing research projects at Inimmune,” stated Jay Evans, Inimmune co-founder, president, and chief executive officer. “The properties of our novel and proprietary immune stimulating compounds provide a unique opportunity to treat patients rapidly and with high effectiveness. In addition, this therapeutic platform has potential applications in many disease areas including treatment of allergy and cancer.”
Hélène Bazin-Lee, Inimmune’s Vice President of Early Discovery and leader of these early efforts, echoed Dr. Evans’ sentiments about the usefulness of the company’s discovery. “Broad-spectrum immunomodulators, like the ones we are developing at Inimmune, have the potential to provide prophylactic or therapeutic treatment options against a wide range of biological threats. They could have broad utility in many situations including treatment of people at heightened risk for upper respiratory tract infections and reducing deaths associated with seasonal or pandemic influenza outbreaks.”
Inimmune’s efforts to develop the rapidly expanding portfolio of immunotherapeutics will be led by Dr. Juhienah Khalaf, the principal investigator on this Phase I SBIR award.
Inimmune was co-founded in 2016 by four pharmaceutical industry experts and an experienced team of researchers with the aim to harness the human immune system and create next generation immunotherapeutics for the treatment of allergy, autoimmunity, infectious disease and cancer. The team spent more than 20 years working together in Hamilton, MT prior to forming Inimmune in Missoula, MT. Their laboratories and offices are housed in the Montana Technology Enterprise Center (MonTEC) and they work in close collaboration with researchers at the University of Montana’s Center for Translational Medicine to form a unique public-private partnership to foster innovation and retain high tech Montana jobs.
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