Missoula biotech firm lands $176K grant to continue respiratory drug research

Inimmune technicians conduct their vaccine research based in Missoula. (Missoula Current file photo)

An upstart biotech firm founded in Missoula two years ago landed a $176,000 award this week to research new drugs aimed at treating and preventing respiratory tract infections, company officials said Wednesday.

Inimmune Corp., founded by four pharmaceutical experts and a team of researchers in 2016, said the Phase 1 award from the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases will boost the company’s local research in treating disease.

“The properties of our novel and proprietary immune stimulating compounds provide an unique opportunity to treat patients rapidly, and with high effectiveness,” said Jay Evans, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “In addition, this therapeutic platform has potential applications in many disease areas, including the treatment of allergy and cancer.”

Inimmune conducts research at both the Montana Technology Enterprise Center and the University of Montana’s Center for Translational Medicine. The company was founded by a team of senior researchers who were operating in Hamilton with GSK Vaccines.

Dr. Helene Bazin-Lee, the company’s vice president of early discovery, said the new drugs show the potential to provide 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,” Bazin-Lee said.

The latest award marks an extension of the work initiated under a Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology grant received by the company last year.