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Business Buzz: New Westside cafe, Panera Bread hiring in Missoula, Inimmune receives $2M grant

Business Buzz: New Westside cafe, Panera Bread hiring in Missoula, Inimmune receives $2M grant

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Here's a look at some business news in the Missoula area:

Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters opened a new cafe in Missoula's Westside neighborhood near Draught Works Brewery.

General manager Cole Lawrence said they officially opened on Thursday after a few days of "soft opening."

"I lived over here on the Westside, and there was never a good coffee shop over here," he said. "We always wanted more of a neighborhood location. There's not a ton of competition here, but there's a lot of small businesses around here. You wouldn't think, so but there's lots of businesses tucked in here."

They serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week but might close periodically to install more modifications. For now they serve items like biscuit sandwiches, chia pudding, overnight oats, curry chicken salad and salads. They've got a full espresso bar for the coffee they source and roast in Lolo.

The location, in the base of the condo building at 812 Toole Ave., features a large outdoor patio. Staff are wearing masks and tables are limited for social distancing right now.

"The patio is nice. You can get sun or shade all day long depending on where you sit," Lawrence said.

The future of Hunter Bay's downtown location, inside the First Interstate Bank Building, is sort of up in the air right now.

"Our lease is up in November, and we're about 90 percent sure we're going to shut down that location," Lawrence said. "It's open for now, but we're just staffing it with one employee, and we just have coffee and pastries."

He said the new location has a completely new vibe.

"You wouldn't even recognize this location from the old Hunter Bay," he said. "We're stoked on it. We're going to add on as we go. We could have waited for everything to be perfect but we wanted to open."

Fans of the national restaurant/bakery chain Panera Bread will be pleased to know that the company is finally starting work on its location on Reserve Street near Target.

The company has advertised that it's hiring for positions in Missoula as well. An emailed request for comment from the company was not returned in time for this story.

Inimmune Corporation, a biotechnology company based in Missoula, was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct to Phase II program to advance a novel adjuvant and delivery system for vaccines.

Adjuvants are vaccine components that stimulate and direct the immune system to enhance immunity to a vaccine. Through this SBIR grant, Inimmune will advance a proprietary synthetic vaccine adjuvant through innovative formulation and delivery technologies. The team will advance a stable and safe adjuvant delivery platform that elicits strong immune responses against a variety of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The lead researchers and co-principal investigators on this award, Shannon Miller and David Burkhart, are excited to lead the effort at Inimmune to complete this research and develop a new adjuvant system ready for clinical evaluation at the end of the two-year contract. Miller, an Investigator and immunologist at Inimmune, stated “It’s exciting to work on projects that will advance the field of vaccine science and increase the availability of safe and effective vaccine adjuvants. Particularly given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s great to see so much interest and investment in new vaccines and innovative technologies.”

“This award builds on a strong adjuvant and immunotherapy pipeline at Inimmune and will help the company advance novel vaccines and treatments closer to testing in human clinical trials,” stated Burkhart, Inimmune co-founder and chief operating officer.

Inimmune was co-founded in 2016 by a team of experienced industry 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 prior to forming Inimmune in Missoula. Their laboratories and offices are housed in the Montana Technology Enterprise Center (MonTEC).

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