AIVITA Biomedical CEO Hans Keirstead Named to “20 in 2020” by Consulate General of Canada for Contributions to COVID-19 Research

AIVITA is currently advancing a personalized COVID-19 vaccine toward clinical investigation.
Dr. Keirstead to be recognized today in Canada Day Celebration

IRVINE, Calif. – July 1, 2020 – AIVITA Biomedical, Inc., a private biotechnology company developing personalized vaccines for the treatment of cancer and prevention of COVID-19, announced that Hans Keirstead, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer, has been named to the “20 in 2020” by the Consulate General of Canada. This year the list recognizes 20 individuals for contributions to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

“The global response to COVID-19 has been unprecedented, with researchers working aggressively to find new ways to treat and prevent infection by the virus affecting all of us. With our personalized vaccine technology showing promising safety and efficacy in clinical trials in multiple cancer types, we moved quickly to apply it to COVID-19 and are excited to start a clinical trial soon,” said Dr. Keirstead. “I am honored to be recognized by the Canadian Consulate General alongside others who are working to address the pandemic in various areas of society.”

Dr. Keirstead was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and raised in Uxbridge, Ontario. He received his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, for which he received the Cameron Award for the outstanding Ph.D. thesis in Canada. Before AIVITA, he founded and served as chief executive officer of California Stem Cell, and founded and served as chief executive officer of Ability Biomedical. Dr. Keirstead was also a professor at the University of California at Irvine, where he founded and directed the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. He has published more than 100 manuscripts and been granted more than 20 patents. Dr. Keirstead was a founding advisor of the California Stem Cell Initiative that resulted in a $3 billion stem cell fund (CIRM), and has been a long-time advisor to several governments on biomedical policy.

AIVITA’s personalized vaccine technology has created cancer immunotherapies loading multiple antigens, in this case from self-renewing tumor-initiating cells, into autologous dendritic cells. These investigational therapies have demonstrated promising safety and efficacy in multiple cancer types in human clinical studies. These cancer immunotherapy programs are designed to target the seed of all cancers – tumor-initiating cells – with a pan-antigenic approach that targets multiple neoantigens on those cells. AIVITA is currently advancing clinical vaccine programs in glioblastoma, ovarian cancer, and melanoma.

About AIVITA’S Clinical Programs

AV-OVA-1 – Ovarian Cancer

AIVITA is currently investigating AV-OVA-1 in a double-blind Phase 2 study. The study is active and enrolling approximately 99 patients who are being randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either the autologous tumor-initiating cell-targeting immunotherapy or autologous monocytes as a comparator. Lisa Abaid, MD, principal investigator of the study presented an update on the study at the 2020 AACR Virtual Annual Meeting, with the trial progressing and the treatment being well-tolerated to date. For additional information, visit:

AV-GBM-1 – Glioblastoma

AIVITA is currently investigating AV-GBM-1 in a Phase 2 study in glioblastoma. The study is active and has completed enrollment of 55 patients to receive the tumor-initiating cell-targeting immunotherapy. In an interim survival analysis conducted at the end of 2019, overall survival rates at both 12- and 15-months in treated patients were 76%, compared to 61% and 48%, respectively, in control patients. For additional information, visit:

AV-MEL-1 – Melanoma

AIVITA is currently developing AV-MEL-1 in melanoma. The company plans to initiate a Phase 1B open-label, single-arm combination study of the treatment with anti-PD1 antibodies in patients with measurable metastatic melanoma. The study will also track efficacy of the treatment for the estimated 14 to 20 patients. In a prior clinical trial in metastatic melanoma, AV-MEL-1 demonstrated 72% 2-year survival and 54% 5-year survival in patients (n=92). For additional information, visit:

About AIVITA BiomedicalAIVITA Biomedical is a privately held company engaged in the advancement of commercial and clinical-stage programs utilizing curative and regenerative medicines. Founded in 2016 by pioneers in the stem cell industry, AIVITA Biomedical utilizes its expertise in stem cell growth and directed high-purity differentiation to enable safe, efficient and economical manufacturing systems that support its therapeutic pipeline and commercial line of skin care products. All proceeds from the sale of AIVITA’s skin care products support the treatment of people with cancer.

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