AbCellera Receives $175.6 million from the Government of Canada to Discover Solutions for COVID-19 and Build a Manufacturing Facility for Antibody Drugs

May 03, 2020

 AbCellera’s world-leading drug discovery technology identifies antibodies for potential use in drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (May 3, 2020) – AbCellera announced today it has received a commitment of up to $175.6 million in support from the Government of Canada under Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s (ISED) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to expand efforts related to the discovery of antibodies for use in drugs to treat COVID-19, and to build technology and manufacturing infrastructure for antibody therapies against future pandemic threats.

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.

“Our government is mobilizing its resources to confront COVID-19, supporting the researchers and businesses that are working hard to develop medical countermeasures to beat this pandemic. Today’s contribution will support AbCellera Biologics as they use their world-leading technology to rapidly identify solutions for COVID-19 while ensuring Canada’s long-term preparedness for future health challenges,” stated the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

AbCellera previously announced a partnership with Eli Lilly and Company that seeks to develop a treatment for COVID-19 with the goal of beginning clinical trials in July 2020. As part of the collaboration, Lilly will independently fund and lead clinical development and testing of antibody therapeutics discovered through this partnership.

“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.”

The Strategic Innovation Fund is quickly deploying support to Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage promising research and development projects aimed at providing medical countermeasures to COVID-19, including vaccines and critical medical supplies.

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.”

Phase 1 of the project will improve and apply AbCellera’s world-leading antibody discovery platform to identify fully human antibodies for the potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Phase 2 will build a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility in Vancouver, BC. This facility will be the first in Canada capable of going from a patient sample to manufacturing antibodies for clinical testing, and will help Canada be prepared to respond to future pandemics.


Jessica Yingling, Ph.D.,, +1.236.521.6774 (Media)

Kevin Heyries, Ph.D.,, +1.604.559.9005 (Business Development)

About the P3 Program

AbCellera has spent the past two years adapting its technology to rapidly respond to pandemics through its participation in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3). The goal of AbCellera’s four-year, USD $30M P3 project is to establish a robust pandemic response platform that can develop field-ready antibody drugs within 60 days of isolating an emerging viral pathogen.

About AbCellera Biologics Inc.

AbCellera is a privately held Canadian biotech with a drug discovery platform that searches and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that can be used to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera’s technology, which combines high-throughput microfluidics, big data, machine learning, bioinformatics and genomics, identifies new first-in-class drugs and reduces the time it takes to bring treatments to clinic. AbCellera's partners include leading biotechnology companies, global health organizations and six of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies. AbCellera was founded in 2012, and completed a Series A financing round in 2018, which was led by DCVC Bio. For more information, visit

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