High-flying Victoria biotech firm ImmunoPrecise Antibodies reports 50 percent increase in quarterly revenues

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      This year, Metro Vancouver's tech industry has generated a great deal of attention.

      Here are just three examples that come to mind—the mind-blowing initial public offering of AbCellera BIologics, the continued success of Absolute Software, and the stunning rise in the 2020 share price of Ballard Power Systems.

      Then there's Westport Fuel Systems. Since early November, its stock has climbed 180 percent, which came after it extended its financial runway by tens of millions of dollars.

      But across the Strait of Georgia in Victoria, there's also a thriving tech sector.

      One of its more notable companies, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd., released its unaudited second quarter results this morning.

      The financial statement shows a 50 percent increase in revenue for the three months ending October 31, compared to the same period in 2019.

      Revenues exceeded $4.75 million and the quarterly loss shrank to $463,583, down from more than $1.3 million in the same quarter of 2019.

      ImmunoPrecise shares closed on Friday (December 21) at $14 on the Toronto Venture Exchange—up 428 percent from the start of the year. There was a 1:5 stock consolidation on November 23.

      This morning, as of this writing, the shares are trading at $14.40. That's left ImmunoPrecise with a market cap of $238.2 million.

      The Victoria biotech company describes itself as a "global technology platform company with end-to-end solutions empowering companies to discover and develop therapies against any disease".

      It's in the business of custom antibody development.

      "We deliver elusive antibodies in a short period of time, with high probability of succeeding to clinical trials," it states on its website.

      Some of its partners are targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

      For example, on December 14, the company and its partner, Netherlands-based LiteVax BV, announced a vaccine candidate for a collaborative preclinical immunogenicity study.

      "Immunization of swine with a low dose of the selected candidate resulted in significant serum reactivities towards the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein segment," the companies stated.

      Last month, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies ranked 240th on Deloitte's 2020 Technology Fast 500 list, which tracks companies across North America.

      In September, ImmunoPrecise CEO Jennifer Bath explained to Bloomberg Technology how her company is developing "antibody cocktail therapy" in response to COVID-19.

      Women occupy key positions in company

      In 2018, ImmunoPrecise appointed Jennifer Bath as its CEO. She has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from North Dakota State and spent 15 years as an associate professor of cellular and molecular biology at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota.

      Bath also headed the college's Global Vaccine Institute.

      Six of the seven members of its management team are women. They include chief scientific officer Yasmina Abdiche and chief financial officer Lisa Helbling.

      Meanwhile, another Victoria-based biotech company, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, has a market capitalization of $2.1 billlion, making it one of B.C.'s most valuable tech companies.

      It's focused on commercializing therapies to "treat targeted patient populations that are impacted by serious diseases with unmet medical needs".

      It's seeking approval of oral voclosporin from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat lupus nephritis. That's an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the kidneys.