19 Mar AbCellera, a Vancouver Startup, takes on COVID-19
AbCellera, a 2013 New Ventures BC Competition finalist, has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020. The list honours the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and society. AbCellera’s drug discovery platform searches and analyzes natural immune systems to deliver best-in-class antibody drugs, and currently it’s being used to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re leading a team of industry expert in the Pandemic Prevention Platform program and working on discovering neutralizing antibodies that could ultimately be deployed to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.
On March 12, AbCellera and Eli Lilly and Company announced they have entered into an agreement to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
Within one week of receiving a blood sample from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19, AbCellera screened over 5 million immune cells looking for ones that produced functional antibodies that helped the patient neutralize the virus and recover from the disease. From this effort, AbCellera has identified over 500 unique fully human antibody sequences, the largest panel of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies ever reported. The next step is to screen these antibodies to find the ones most effective in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. Many of these antibodies will be expressed in collaboration with partners at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and pending agreement with NIAID will be tested for their ability to neutralize the virus.
Content in this article is inspired by a feature on Innovate BC platform and AbCellera online news.