AbCellera of Vancouver, British Columbia, is a technology company that specializes in the research and discovery of new antibodies for use in disease prevention and treatment.
AbCellera began to take shape over 10 years ago when Carl Hansen, an associate professor with the University of British Columbia, was working with his research team on developing a technology to analyze the products of single cells. As Carl and his team developed the technology, they reached out to the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) for guidance. Working closely with Paul Barran, an industrial technology advisor with NRC IRAP, AbCellera received NRC IRAP support for several successful R&D projects over time. AbCellera succeeded in developing a microfluidic technology allowing for the rapid discovery of novel antibodies. This technology was a breakthrough in the biomedical sector at the time and became the basis of a novel rapid therapeutic antibody production platform.
AbCellera has since grown to become one of Canada's largest and fastest-growing biotech companies. In December of 2020, AbCellera completed a record-breaking initial public offering and transitioned to a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ, and now employs more than 350 people in Vancouver. In 2021, AbCellera broke ground on a new facility in Vancouver and continues its extensive research into the discovery of new antibodies for use in disease prevention and treatment; the company partners with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to this end. For example, with the COVID-19 pandemic, AbCellera leveraged its team and technology to quickly generate a SARS-CoV-2 antibody. This antibody was then licensed to a pharmaceutical company and is being used to treat COVID-19 patients around the world. As of December 2021, this therapy has been used to treat more than 700,000 patients and has saved tens of thousands of lives.
AbCellera continues to innovate in the biomedical space, and NRC IRAP is currently supporting one of their projects to develop technology for the discovery of therapeutic antibodies.
"Very early on, NRC IRAP understood our vision to build an anchor company in Canada. R&D funding removed barriers and helped us advance our technology stack to tackle the most difficult discovery challenges in our industry. The support we received from NRC IRAP has been instrumental in helping AbCellera evolve from a small university spin off into a global player in therapeutic antibody discovery."