Canada and British Columbia invest in AbCellera’s state-of-the-art biotech campus
AbCellera will strengthen Canada’s ability to develop innovative medicines right here at home
May 24, 2023 – Vancouver, British Columbia
The Government of Canada and the Province of B.C. continue to deliver on the promise to rebuild a robust and strengthened biomanufacturing and life sciences sector across the country. Since March 2020, federal investments of over $2.1 billion have resulted in major achievements, with 36 new and expanded projects to boost the domestic sector’s capacity. These investments are supporting advances in competitive technological areas and the growth of Canadian companies, while enhancing domestic capabilities to respond to current and future health challenges.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable David Eby, Premier of British Columbia, jointly announced funding of $300 million to AbCellera. Through the Strategic Innovation Fund, the Government of Canada is contributing $225 million to support AbCellera’s $701 million project to create a state-of-the-art biotech campus equipped with a new preclinical antibody development facility and make significant upgrades to its existing facilities in Vancouver. The Province of B.C. is providing $75 million. The funding will allow AbCellera to enhance and expand the Canadian value chain in leading-edge antibody drug development and clinical research, giving Canadian patients earlier access to innovative medicines.
This groundbreaking project aligns with Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, as well as with B.C.’s recently launched Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, to rebuild the Canadian biomanufacturing sector across the country. The project will strengthen Canada’s position in antibody drug development that will significantly contribute to Canada’s clinical trials sector by advancing therapies targeting areas of unmet medical need. It also represents a major opportunity for the company and Canada to enhance their global leading-edge technological capabilities to attract investments, partnerships and top talent and to propel growth and innovation in the sector. Today’s contribution will enable AbCellera to create over 400 full-time positions in Canada, invest heavily in research and development, and significantly strengthen our country’s life sciences sector for decades to come.
The government is doubling down on AbCellera, having made a contribution of $175.6 million to AbCellera in May 2020 as part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19.
“In 2020, our government made a promise to Canadians that we would build back our life sciences ecosystem. And today, we are once again delivering on that promise by partnering with AbCellera, a company at the cutting edge of technology. Its project will make sure that Canada is at the forefront of antibody drug development, while also strengthening our life sciences sector. We are not only making our country a major player in the global biomanufacturing and life sciences industry but also boosting Canada’s economy and creating good jobs for Canadians.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our government will do everything it can to keep Canadians healthy and safe, including continuing to invest in innovative medicines that save lives. By partnering with AbCellera, we are expanding our domestic life sciences and biotechnology ecosystem, which will strengthen our antibody drug development and help address unmet medical needs. Together with our partners, we will keep strengthening our health care system to improve health outcomes for all.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“Today’s announcement is another example of our government continuing to deliver on our promise to rebuild a strong and robust biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. This partnership with AbCellera will help position Canada as an international leader within the biotech community and directly benefit British Columbia’s economy.”
– The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
“Our government is pleased to support AbCellera and its employees who are working hard to discover and develop next-generation therapeutic antibodies. 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 more good local jobs and economic benefits for decades to come.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources and member of Parliament for North Vancouver
“AbCellera is an amazing local success story, and today’s commitment represents the largest single private investment in a life sciences project in our history. This partnership will ensure British Columbians see the benefit of access to innovative therapies through clinical trials, while creating hundreds of good jobs and local training opportunities as we position B.C. as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing.”
– The Honourable David Eby, Premier of British Columbia
“Ensuring local, made-in-B.C. companies have the resources they need to succeed on a global scale is a key part of our StrongerBC Economic Plan. 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. 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.”
– The Honourable Brenda Bailey, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
“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. 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.”
– Carl Hansen, PhD, Founder and CEO, AbCellera
AbCellera is a Canadian technology company that is breaking the barriers of conventional antibody drug discovery to bring better medicines to patients, sooner. AbCellera’s engine integrates expert teams, technology and facilities with the data science and automation needed to propel antibody-based medicines from target to clinic in nearly every therapeutic area with precision and speed. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AbCellera and its partners brought two antibody treatments to patients, including the first antibody treatment to be authorized by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA. AbCellera’s COVID-19 antibodies have been used to treat more than 2.5 million patients and are estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives.
On May 3, 2020, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced a contribution of $175.6 million to AbCellera. This contribution was part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19, which was announced on March 23, 2020, and included significant investments in Canada’s world-class research community to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
The Government of Canada Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy presents a long‑term vision to protect Canadians against future pandemics and other health emergencies and to grow an innovative, competitive domestic life sciences sector.
The Government of B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy provides five pillars to secure B.C.’s position as a leading global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing and to develop commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.
Growing Canada’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a priority that goes beyond responding to COVID-19. The government’s investments in this growing sector support thousands of good, well-paying jobs while securing Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come.
Budget 2021 provided a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness. This funding includes foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
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