Immunovaccine Inc. 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.