AbCellera, provincial and fed governments announce $701M co-investment in local life sciences infrastructure
Province of B.C. chipping in $75 million, one of its largest biotech investments in history.
Vancouver’s life science sector received a massive boost Wednesday, as local biotech giant AbCellera announced a co-investment of $701 million to strengthen capabilities and infrastructure for drug development, manufacturing, and clinical research in Canada.
AbCellera CEO Carl Hansen made the announcement at the company’s facilities in Mount Pleasant. He was joined by Premier David Eby; federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne; and provincial Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation Brenda Bailey, among other elected leaders.
The investment will be made over the next eight years, with AbCellera contributing $401 million, and the governments of Canada and British Columbia pitching in $225 million and $75 million, respectively.
This isn’t the first time the federal government has made significant investments in AbCellera and its expansion. In 2020, the company received $175.6 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund toward a manufacturing facility for antibody drug discovery.
The goal of the funding is to support the construction of new capabilities to develop, manufacture, and deliver antibody medicines to patients through Phase 1 clinical trials and build expertise in translational science, technical operations, and clinical operations and research.
“This project, and the commitment to co-invest alongside the governments of Canada and British Columbia, is a major step towards building the capabilities in Canada to translate scientific breakthroughs into new medicines that will benefit patients here, and around the world,” said Hansen. “With a decade of building our teams, technology, and expertise, this co-investment will accelerate the execution of our strategy and bring new treatments into clinical development.”
The project's key details include building a biotech campus with state-of-the-art capabilities for bringing new antibody-based medicines to the clinic, and patients, faster; initiating up to 17 drug development programs for new antibody-based medicines, with an initial focus on cancer and immune diseases; conducting multiple Phase 1 clinical trials in British Columbia and across Canada; and creating and maintaining jobs at AbCellera in computer science, life sciences, health care, and manufacturing.
“It wasn’t long ago that AbCellera emerged out of the University of British Columbia to become a global biotech leader saving lives around the world,” said Bailey, in a statement. “We’ve supported AbCellera from the very beginning, and this commitment to its success is a commitment to the success of a strong and sustainable economy right here in B.C.”
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