HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2014) - Immunovaccine Inc. ("Immunovaccine" or "IMV" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:IMV), a clinical stage vaccine and immunotherapy company, has elected Llew Keltner, M.D., Ph.D. to its board of directors. The appointment is effective immediately.
Dr. Keltner, a consultant to IMV since early 2013, has helped to raise the profile of the company in the US and Europe in the fast-evolving world of cancer immunotherapy. He also serves as chairman of Raptor Pharmaceuticals Corp (NASDAQ:RPTP), a $900 million commercial stage biotechnology company based in California.
Albert Scardino, Executive Chairman, said: "Dr. Keltner shares our goal, to put effective cancer treatments to work in patients. Whether advising investment banks, fund managers, large pharmaceutical companies or clinical stage companies such as ours, he has proved effective at matching up financial investment with promising science."
Dr. Keltner said: "Immunovaccine has developed a pivotal piece in the evolving field of cancer therapy. In early human trials in ovarian and breast cancer, its unique vaccine technology has shown an ability to stimulate powerful immune responses that may delay the recurrence of cancers. In combination with other therapies, IMV's treatments may help turn cancer into a treatable, long-term illness. Now that immunotherapy has captured the imagination of both the scientific and the investment communities, it is important that we introduce the company to a wider audience."
Until 2013, Dr. Keltner was chief executive of AgonOx, a private US biotech company working to develop OX40 agonists for use in cancer therapy. At AgonOx, he engineered a partnership with Medimmune LLC, the global biologics arm of Astra Zeneca PLC, to advance the private company's immune system activators.
Dr. Keltner also holds positions on the boards of Infostat, Oregon Life Sciences, BioQuiddity, and Goodwell Technologies. EPISTAT, the consulting company he founded in 1972, advises on international healthcare technology transfer, corporate risk management and healthcare strategy. He serves on the faculties of the Medical Schools at Case Western Reserve University and Columbia University.
In conjunction with this appointment, Dr. Keltner has been granted 50,000 stock options under Immunovaccine's Stock Option Plan, exercisable at a price equal to $0.74 per common share. The options have a term of five years and vest over a period of 18 months.
Immunovaccine expects three trials to be initiated in 2014 with its cancer immunotherapies. The largest is a randomized Phase II trial of DPX-Survivac in ovarian cancer being sponsored and conducted by Canada's NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG). The trial is expected to begin enrolling the first of its 250 patients in 2014. Additionally, researchers at the University of Rome have initiated a Phase l/II trial of DPX-Survivac in glioblastoma (brain cancer), with the first patients receiving the vaccine in the first half of this year. A third trial, using DPX-0907 to treat breast and ovarian cancer, is planned for initiation at Busto Arsizio Hospital in Milan.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer. Symptoms do not occur until it is in the later stages of the disease, reducing the chance for successful treatment and remission. It kills more than 100,000 women annually around the world. Improved surgical techniques have helped to reduce the rate of recurrence according to some studies, but the average life expectancy of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients is less than four years.
Glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer, is a fast-growing tumor that develops from astrocytes, a type of glial cell present in the brain. The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 23,000 Americans will be diagnosed with brain and other nervous system tumors in 2014. Glioblastoma accounts for approximately 52 percent of all brain tumors. The current standard of care for glioblastoma patients calls for patients to receive maximum surgical resection combined with radiation and concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide therapy. Newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients have a median overall survival of less than 24 months.
Immunovaccine Inc. develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company's DepoVax™ platform, a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvants to the immune system. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase I human clinical trials. Lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, is expected to enter Phase II clinical studies in 2014, in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer). The Company is also advancing an infectious disease pipeline including innovative vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and anthrax.
Connect at www.imvaccine.com
This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future, is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the company, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. Immunovaccine Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law.
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