AbCellera Biologics wins B.C. company of the year anchor award at 2021 Technology Impact Awards gala

The Vancouver tech firm finds antibodies in natural immune systems that can be deployed to fight diseases, including COVID-19

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      It's been a roller-coaster year for AbCellera Biologics Inc.

      Over the past 12 months, the Vancouver biotech company went public on NASDAQ; the stock price shot up and fell back to Earth; and it announced the development of a new 380,000-square-foot campus in the Mount Pleasant industrial district.

      On November 19, the staff had good reason to hold a celebration—AbCellera won company of the year–anchor award at the 2021 Technology Impact Awards gala at Science World.

      The other finalists in this category were Absolute Software, Cymax Group, and WELL Health.

      The B.C. Tech Association puts on the annual event, which took place this year at Science World.

      Last December, AbCellera went public on NASDAQ, raising US$483 million before deducting underwriting, commission, and offering expenses.

      Initially priced at US$20, the share price shot up over US$71 in a wave of excitement. Investors were attracted by the company's rapid ability to find antibodies in immune systems that could be deployed to fight COVID-19.

      Confidence in the company also came from the appointment of billionaire tech investor and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel to AbCellera's board of directors.

      Since the initial enthusiasm, the market has cooled somewhat, with AbCellera closing at US$15.80 on November 22. It's currently worth about US$4.4 billion.

      In a news release last spring, CEO Carl Hansen said that AbCellera is building its new campus "to accelerate the development of new antibody therapies with biotech and pharma partners from around the world".

      It aims to develop "Canada's first clinical-grade Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) antibody manufacturing facility" to help the country respond to future pandemics.

      Thinkific and Laurie Schultz also honoured 

      The company of the year–scale award at the TIAs went to online education software developer Thinkific Labs. It enables people to turn their expertise into revenue by offering courses.

      Thinkific's revenue shot up by 56 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous year but the share price has not gone in the same direction.

      It's trading at less than half its highest price of $19.47 after going public in April on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Thinkific is worth $178.5 million.

      The other finalists in this category were Catalyst, East Side Games, and Jane Software.

      The person of the year award at the TIAs went to Laurie Schultz, the former CEO of Galvanize and the first female CEO to lead a B.C. tech company to unicorn status. She chairs the board of Riskalyze, which is a platform designed to help investment advisors measure their clients' risk tolerance.

      The other finalists in this category were AbCellera director and CEO Carl Hansen and WELL Health chairman and CEO Hamed Shabazi.

      Below, you can see the winners in the other categories:

      Excellence in techology innovation award: Dapper Labs

      Company of the year–startup award: Matidor

      Excellence in technology adoption award: Advanced Intelligence Systems

      Tech culture of the year award: Klue

      Spirit of B.C. tech–reslience award: Traction on Demand

      Company of the year–growth award: Launchpad

      Company of the year–export award: LMI Technologies

      Game changer–diversity and inclusion award: Broadband TV