This morning the Government of Canada announced $175.6 million in new funding for Vancouver’s AbCellera to discover solutions for COVID-19 and build a manufacturing facility for antibody drugs.
The support comes from Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s (ISED) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
AbCellera’s antibody discovery platform is being used to search blood samples of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to aid in the discovery of antibodies that can be used to treat and prevent the disease.
Since receiving one of the first North American samples from a recovered patient on February 25th, AbCellera has identified over 500 unique human anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as part of a collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US National Institutes of Health.
Antibodies discovered by AbCellera may also be used to create new diagnostic tests to support the medical community in monitoring the spread of COVID-19.
The new funding comes in phases with phase one being used to improve and apply AbCellera’s antibody discovery platform to identify fully human antibodies for the potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and future pandemics.
The second phase will be used to build AbCellera a new manufacturing facility in Vancouver. This facility will be the first in Canada capable of going from a patient sample to manufacturing antibodies for clinical testing.
“Each and every one of us is affected, and our teams stand together, galvanized to fight this outbreak,” said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO of AbCellera. “We are proud to have the support of the Government of Canada to quickly find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In addition to the support from the Government of Canada, AbCellera is receiving support from the City of Vancouver.
“The City of Vancouver is fully committed to ensuring AbCellera has the infrastructure needed as they accelerate finding a treatment for COVID-19,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, City of Vancouver. “We couldn’t be more proud to be on the front lines of this global effort thanks to the innovation and leadership of AbCellera.”
AbCellera was recently named a finalist in the Excellence in Global Export category of the 2020 BC Tech Technology Impact Awards.