A year after embarking on a new HQ and manufacturing site, AbCellera starts second phase of its buildout
A year ago, Canadian antibody biotech AbCellera broke ground on the first phase of its headquarters expansion in Vancouver, along with a new manufacturing site in the city. Now, the company is forging ahead with the second part of the project.
The company has broken ground on the next phase building out what will ultimately be a 380,000-square-foot campus. AbCellera hopes to include lab and office space to support its work in antibody development.
AbCellera’s SVP of corporate development, Murray McCutcheon, told Endpoints News in an interview that the new phase is critical to establishing not just greater capacity but also capabilities for wider antibody discovery and development.
“We are on a mission now to integrate capabilities forward, to include Translational Sciences, process development, to support, CMC, GMP manufacturing and ultimately integrate all of these capabilities together so that our partners have a seamless capability with us to progress their programs, right from target through to the clinic,” McCutcheon told Endpoints.
The headquarters expansion comes as the company has grown to around 450 people, with 125 being brought on in the last 12 months. The expansion will help house several hundred more employees in the future, AbCellera says. The first phase of the project is still on track to be completed next year, with the second expected to be finished in 2025.
While the exact cost of the facility was not disclosed, McCutcheon emphasized that the company has more than $1 billion on its balance sheet, which clears the way for the company to invest in long-term projects.
While the new headquarters is a major piece of AbCellera’s future, it is also making good on building out a new manufacturing facility as well. Last year, the company announced it would construct a 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in a nearby district in Vancouver. That project is estimated to be completed in 2024.
McCutcheon noted that manufacturing plays a role in its new headquarters too, as the two facilities will share people and materials to ensure it’s closely integrated with the rest of the company’s operations.
“And that is a key part of our whole approach here, to ensure that we’re bringing forth molecules that have the right properties to be developable and manufacturable. And we’re able to integrate seamlessly our discovery and development efforts into the manufacturing setting. So, this headquarters extension supports that overall approach,” he said.
AbCellera has been tapped by several major players in the past couple of years, including Eli Lilly and Moderna during the height of Covid-19. One of its most recent partnerships saw Versant and AbCellera beginning to work together, but the specifics of the partnership were few.