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Missoula biotech company Inimmune closes $22M in first round of funding

Posted at 8:54 AM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 15:43:35-04

MISSOULA — Two weeks after landing a $2 million grant for vaccine research from the National Institutes of Health, a Missoula biotech company said it has raised $22 million in its first round of outside funding.

Inimmune Corporation, founded by four pharmaceutical experts and a team of researchers in Missoula in 2016, said the Series A round of funding was led by Two Bear Capital.

“We could have looked outside of Montana for investors but were happy to find a local venture capital firm that connected with our vision to grow a world-class biotech company right here in Montana,” said Dr. Jay Evans, the president and CEO at Inimmune. “The company plans to use the Series A investment to advance at least two late-stage pre-clinical drug candidates in oncology and allergy through Phase I human clinical trials.”

Inimmune is nationally recognized for its treatments that leverage the immune system, including its development of novel adjuvants, or compounds added to therapies that improve or direct an immune response.

Last month, the biotech firm received $2 million from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help it advance a new delivery system for vaccines, including COVID-19.

Inimmune has partnered with the University of Montana’s Center for Transnational Medicine in the race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. The company is also working on other immune-based therapies that treat emerging pathogens, such as infections that are resistant to known antibiotics.

“Effectively harnessing the incredible power of the human immune system has the potential to prevent or cure the most devastating diseases faced by humanity,” said Michael Goguen, founder and managing partner of Two Bear Capital. “The need for solutions today is more urgent than ever.”

Goguen is poised to join Inimmune’s board of directors.

“The team at Inimmune combines world-class immunology and vaccine expertise, proven track records and a passion for solving some of the most important medical crises of our time,” Goguen added.

Inimmune was launched in 2016 by co-founders Drs. Kendal Ryter, Helene Bazin-Lee, David Burkhart and Jay Evans, along with a team of 11 experienced scientists from GlaxoSmithKline.

The company has raised more than $12 million in research grants and contracts since 2016, including the recent $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.