AbCellera to build therapeutic antibodies manufacturing facility in False Creek Flats

Jun 22 2021, 9:10 am

A site in the False Creek Flats has been secured for AbCellera’s major manufacturing facility for the production of therapeutic antibody treatments, the first of its kind in Canada.

The rapidly growing Vancouver-based biotechnology company announced this morning their 130,000 sq ft Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility will be located on a two-acre site at the 900 block of Evans Avenue, replacing the Urban Beach volleyball courts just next to the City of Vancouver’s Evans maintenance centre and the Regional Recycling Vancouver Bottle Depot.

The building will have a laboratory, offices, protein biologic manufacturing, and warehouse space.

The new facility will elevate AbCellera’s capabilities in bringing new antibody therapies to clinical trials, providing Canada with the capacity to respond quickly and effectively to future pandemics, and providing the firm’s partners with the ability to accelerate the development of their drug programs.

AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices 900 Evans Avenue Vancouver

Location of AbCellera’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturing facility at 900 Evans Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices 900 Evans Avenue Vancouver

Location of AbCellera’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturing facility at 900 Evans Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

GMP is partially funded by the $175 million in federal funding received by the company last year to support research into coronavirus treatment.

Detailed design work on the GMP is underway, and construction is expected to begin later this year. When complete in early 2024, the new facility will employ nearly 300 people.

“I am pleased to see AbCellera participating in our government’s effort to reverse a four-decade decline in Canada’s domestic capacity,” said François-Philippe Champagne, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a statement.

“This is an important step toward improving Canada’s pandemic preparedness, and a driver for our economic recovery.”

AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices 900 Evans Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices facility at the 900 block of Evans Avenue in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats. (Chernoff Thompson Architects/AbCellera)

AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices 900 Evans Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the AbCellera Good Manufacturing Practices facility at the 900 block of Evans Avenue in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats. (Chernoff Thompson Architects/AbCellera)

GMP adds to AbCellera’s major plans to build a new headquarters in close proximity at 110-150 West 4th Avenue in the Mount Pleasant Industrial Area — a city block-sized campus with a total of 380,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space for research and corporate uses.

The campus’ east building will be nine storeys with 221,300 sq ft of floor area, while the west building will be seven storeys with 169,000 sq ft. The west building has already started construction under its previous design as a four-storey building with 110,000 sq ft, but the aim now is to add more floors to the design to meet AbCellera’s long-term needs.

Both campus buildings are being reviewed under the City of Vancouver’s rare streamlined, expedited process of combining the rezoning and development permit applications. AbCellera formally announced its campus plans in April 2021.

AbCellera is aiming to have the campus reach completion between 2023 and 2024. Nearly a thousand people are expected to work at this location — up from the current workforce of over 200 employees at the firm’s existing locations in the same district.

110 West 4th Avenue Vancouver AbCellera

Artistic rendering of AbCellera’s campus headquarters east building at 110 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture/Beedie Group/AbCellera Biologics)

150 west 4th avenue vancouver abcellera expansion campus

Artistic rendering of AbCellera’s campus headquarters west building, as an expanded seven-storey structure, at 150 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver. (Taylor Kurtz Architecture & Design)

In addition to the GMP and headquarters, AbCellera announced today it is also creating an internal Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) development organization, comprised of a team of scientists and engineers responsible for developing the manufacturing processes for antibody therapeutics.

“AbCellera has already redefined the speed of antibody drug discovery, and the addition of CMC and GMP capabilities gives us the ability to fully integrate lead therapeutic selection, moving key choices earlier, and aligning teams to make a seamless arc of drug development for our partners,” said Bo Barnhart, scientific director at AbCellera.

“We are building a unique team that includes innovative CMC Development leaders, deeply integrated with Discovery and Translational Research, all focused on selecting and developing better therapeutics to go from antibody discovery to fill-finish in a year.”

150 west 4th avenue vancouver AbCellera

Construction progress of AbCellera’s new building at 150 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, as of March 13, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

150 west 4th avenue vancouver AbCellera

Construction progress of AbCellera’s new building at 150 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, as of March 13, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

AbCellera gained significant international attention last year when it developed the world’s first monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 to be authorized for emergency use in high-risk patients in Canada and the United States. According to the company, over 400,000 doses of its bamlanivimab drug have been administered around the world, and it is estimated to have kept more than 22,000 people out of hospital — saving at least 11,000 lives.

In late 2020, the company closed a successful initial public offering, bringing in $556 million after selling nearly 28 million shares, far exceeding its original goal of raising $250 million. It was the largest-ever IPO by a Canadian biotech company.

More recently, the company has discovered a second antibody to address emerging and future variants of COVID-19. Clinical trials on the antibody began last month, as it has been shown to be effective against all circulating variants of the coronavirus to date.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ News
+ Venture
+ Architecture & Design
+ Development
+ Urbanized
+ Coronavirus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT