Vancouver biotech firm AbCellera Biologics goes public at $20 per share on NASDAQ

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently joined the company's board of directors

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A shining light of Vancouver's tech industry is now trading on one of North America's premier stock exchanges.

      AbCellera Biologics Inc. went public on NASDAQ today with an initial public offering of 24.15 million common shares.

      They were priced at US$20 each with the gross proceeds of US$483 million before deducting underwriting discounts, commissions, and offering expenses.

      That was up from the US$14 to US$17 that had been suggested earlier.

      Shares began trading this morning under the symbol ABCL.

      Billionaire German-American venture capitalist Peter Thiel joined AbCellera's board of directors on November 19.

      He's a cofounder and former CEO of PayPal Holdings, and was the first outside investor in Facebook.

      Last March, AbCellera announced that it identified more than 500 antibody sequences after testing a blood sample from a U.S. patient who had recovered from COVID-19.

      This came after it had used its technology to screen five million immune cells.

      Within 10 days, it signed a contract to continue this work in partnership with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

      In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $175 million in federal funding for AbCellera to continue working on identifying antibodies that could potentially treat or prevent COVID-19.

      "We innovate and integrate state-of-the-art technologies across multiple disciplines, from AI and genomics to big data and single cell analysis, to build a platform that can tackle the toughest drug discovery challenges,” AbCellera CEO Carl Hansen said earlier this year. 

      Hansen is a former UBC professor at the Michael Smith Laboratories and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He has more than 50 patents as a result of his research into microfluidics technology for genomics and single-cell analysis, according to the UBC website.

      He launched Abcellera in 2012 with six employees as a collaborative research project with James Piret and Chip Haynes.