CQDM and Brain Canada Inject $1 M in Top BC Biotech Firm AbCellera to Advance Discovery Platform for Next-Generation Antibody Therapeutics

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CQDM and Brain Canada Inject $1 M in Top BC Biotech Firm AbCellera to Advance Discovery Platform for Next-Generation Antibody Therapeutics

The program will leverage AbCellera’s high-throughput, single-cell screening platform to allow rapid identification of functional antibodies against complex membrane proteins.


MONTREAL, January 12th, 2018
– CQDM and Brain Canada are proud to announce the non-dilutive funding of $1 M to AbCellera and the University of British Columbia. AbCellera will also contribute $450,000 to the project, which will expand and apply its state-of-the-art microfluidic antibody discovery platform for discovery of function-modifying antibodies against GPCR targets.

The CQDM support was made possible by the financial contributions of five of its industrial members, including GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Sanofi. These contributions underscore their commitment to driving innovation that can expand the accessible target space of antibody-based therapeutics, the fastest growing class of drugs. Brain Canada’s contribution was made through the Canada Brain Research Fund, with financial support from Health Canada.

“This project is particularly important for CQDM.It highlights our ability to support top biotech companies across Canada, and our focus on game-changing and transformative platform technologies in areas that are key to many pharmaceutical development programs”, said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.

“Collaboration across sectors and disciplines is central to Brain Canada’s vision, and is key to accelerating the pace of discovery. We are pleased to support this research project aiming to develop novel platforms for next-generation biological therapeutics”, said Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO of Brain Canada.

AbCellera, which was spun off from the University of British Columbia in 2012, has established itself as the frontrunner in antibody discovery from natural immune repertoires. AbCellera’s microfluidic single-cell screening platform allows for deep profiling of natural immune responses with an unmatched combination of throughput, speed, and assay capabilities. This funding will allow AbCellera’s to further expand on its leading capabilities for antibody discovery against high-value complex membrane proteins that have proven intractable by conventional approaches, including hybridoma, phage and yeast display. The continued collaboration between AbCellera and the University of British Columbia is a model example of how public-private partnerships can efficiently translate cutting-edge research into practical applications to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapies for patients.

“AbCellera is now the recognized leader for antibody discovery against difficult membrane protein targets. To date we have run successful discovery programs on six GPCR or ion channel targets. Our technology has vastly outperformed what is possible by classic hybridoma and display methods, has succeeded in generating hundreds of unique antibodies per target, and has provided leads to advance partner programs that were otherwise stalled.”, commented Carl Hansen, Director and CEO of AbCellera. “With this collaboration, we will further expand our technology to enable direct cell-based assays capable of selecting ultra-rare antibodies with function-modifying properties.When combined with the throughput and speed of our platform, this will create game-changing capabilities for targeting complex membrane proteins.”

As part of the project, the developed technology will be applied to the generation of function-modifying antibodies against an undisclosed GPCR target.

About CQDM
CQDM is a pharma-based consortium whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate drug discovery. Unique in the world, CQDM’s business model is based on a collaborative approach where all stakeholders share the costs of biopharmaceutical research and benefit from its results. CQDM also provides a common meeting ground where academia, governments, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries converge to address numerous complex medical challenges. Industrial members of CQDM include Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada, Janssen, Novartis Pharma Canada, Sanofi Canada, Servier as well as from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) and from the Government of Canada under the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (BL-NCE). For more information: www.cqdm.org.

About Brain Canada Foundation
Brain Canada is a national registered charity headquartered in Montreal that enables and supports excellent, innovative, paradigm-changing brain research in Canada. For almost twenty years, Brain Canada has made the case for the brain as a single, complex system with commonalities across the range of neurological disorders, mental illnesses and addictions, brain and spinal cord injuries. Looking at the brain as one system has underscored the need for increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions, and a smarter way to invest in brain research that is focused on outcomes that will benefit patients and families. Brain Canada’s vision is to understand the brain, in health and illness, to improve lives and achieve societal impact.

The Canada Brain Research Fund is a partnership between the Government of Canada and Brain Canada, designed to encourage Canadians to increase their support of brain research, and maximize the impact and efficiency of those investments. Brain Canada and its partners have committed to raising $120M, which is being matched by Health Canada on a 1:1 basis for a total of up to $240M. For more information: www.braincanada.ca.

About AbCellera Biologics Inc.
AbCellera is a privately held company that develops next-generation monoclonal antibody therapies and provides enabling technologies to biotechnology and pharmaceutical partners. AbCellera’s lead technology is a proprietary single-cell antibody discovery and immune profiling platform that allows for high-throughput screening of natural immune repertoires to rapidly identify lead therapeutic antibody candidates against a wide range of target classes from any species, including humans.

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For additional information, please contact:

Marc ThibaultPh.D.
Tel: 514 766-6661, ext. 2190
Email: mthibault@cqdm.org
www.cqdm.org