Vancouver-based AbCellera receives $175 million in federal funding to pursue prevention and treatment of COVID-19

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      One of B.C.'s most promising biotech companies has received a big financial boost from the prime minister.

      Today, Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will provide $175 million in funding to AbCellera Biologics Inc. to continue its work identifying antibodies that can treat or prevent COVID-19.

      Trudeau's announcement came two days after the Straight reported that AbCellera had been nominated for a 2020 Technology Impact Award in the "Excellence in Global Export" category.

      It announced in March that it had screened more than five million immune cells after testing a blood sample from a U.S. COVID-19 patient who had recovered.

      It's also identified more than 500 antibody sequences, and is working with Eli Lilly to codevelop antibody products to treat COVID-19.

      This video shows how AbCellera's partners can mine antibody data from its trademarked Celium software.

      "AbCellera is well prepared for the sprint to find antibodies. Throughout our company’s history, we’ve been fortunate to receive funding from organizations like Western Economic Diversification Canada, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has allowed us to embark on unprecedented antibody research," chief financial officer Andrew Booth said in a recent interview on the Vancouver Economic Commission website.

      "A few years ago, we did a capability demonstration on the MERS coronavirus, to test our approach to rapidly developing an antibody treatment in a simulated pandemic scenario," Booth added.

      Video: Watch this CBC News story on Abcellera Biologics.
      CBC News