Inimmune Corporation, a biotechnology company located in Missoula, MT, was recently awarded $1,836,453 from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II program to advance a new immunotherapeutic for the treatment of seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (AR). AR is a chronic inflammatory disease, characterized with nasal itching, sneezing, rhinorrhea, and nasal obstruction.
The Principle Investigator on this award, Dr. Juhienah Khalaf, is an Investigator and medicinal chemist at Inimmune. Last year through a SBIR Phase I contract from NIAID, Dr. Khalaf and Inimmune successfully established proof-of-principle that Inimmune’s new class of immunotherapeutics are safe and effective for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. In this current Phase II award, Inimmune will accelerate the pre-clinical development toward phase I human clinical trials planned for 2022.
“We are excited to receive this award from the NIAID as it exemplifies the excellent research at Inimmune” stated Jay Evans, Inimmune co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “This SBIR funding will allow us to accelerate development of a novel immunotherapeutics that could help improve quality of life and relieve the social and economic burden of AR.”
“The SBIR process is highly competitive and the National Institute Health’s interest in continuing funding this program is an important validation of the therapeutic potential of our program,” said Dr. Hélène Bazin-Lee, Inimmune co-founder, Vice President of Early Discovery and leader of these early efforts. “This award has the potential to develop a new stand-alone immunotherapeutic that will provide relief against AR symptoms within hours of administration, offer better efficacy, lower side-effects, and lower cost compared to currently available antigen-specific immunotherapies”.
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. The team spent more than 20 years together working 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.