The co-investment with the Governments of Canada and British Columbia will fund construction of antibody-based facilities to bolster capabilities and infrastructure.
The CA$701 million ($515 million) investment aims to strengthen Canada’s capabilities and infrastructure for drug development, production, and clinical research. Additionally, it will delivery antibody drugs to patients throughout Phase I clinical trials.
Vancouver-based antibody manufacturer AbCellera anticipates investing CA$401 million ($294 million) into the project, and the Governments of Canada and British Columbia will contribute CA$300 million ($221 million) collectively.
“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 Carl Hansen, CEO of AbCellera.
“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 firm will begin up to 17 antibody-based drug development programs. Initially, the medicines will focus on cancer and immune diseases and AbCellera said it will work with clinical researchers across the country to design and carry out Phase I trials.
Hundreds of jobs
AbCellera said the project will create hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the life sciences space, health, manufacturing, and computer science.
“Our government is pleased to support AbCellera and its employees who are working hard to discover and develop next-generation therapeutic antibodies,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, and member of Parliament for North Vancouver.
“Today’s announcement is another milestone in building world-leading technological capabilities in our country and filling the gaps in drug development and clinical research not only in British Columbia, but also in the Canadian life sciences ecosystem. This will create [better] local jobs and economic benefits for decades to come.”
In September 2022, AbCellera begun the second phase of expansion at its Vancouver, Canada plant aimed at supporting antibody demand from its biopharma partners. In April 2021, the company broke ground on the first phase of its global headquarters in Vancouver – a 170,000 square-foot facility that is being developed in collaboration with Dayhu and occupancy expected to occur late next year.
Directly adjacent to the first facility is a 210,000 square-foot building, which is being developed in a partnership with Beedie and anticipated to be complete in 2025. Furthermore, the two facilities are located a closely to the site of AbCellera’s planned 130,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing facility, which was announced in June 2021.