British Columbia has been a major center of biotech innovation in the last decade or so, and the popular coastal city of Vancouver is the center of the province’s life sciences sector. In this article we take a look at the top five biotech companies located in the city.
According to a 2021 report commissioned by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, annual revenues for British Columbia’s life sciences sector totaled $5.4 billion, and, as of 2019, Metro Vancouver, or Greater Vancouver, is home to 1,300 organizations and 16,000 workers who make part of the Canadian ‘bio-economy’.
This makes Vancouver home to some of Canada’s top biotech companies, and here we take a closer look at five of them, listed in alphabetical order.
Vancouver biotechnology company AbCellera Biologics focuses on antibody discovery and development, the search, decoding, and analysis of the natural immune system to find antibodies. It partners with drug developers of all sizes – from small biotech to large pharmaceutical companies – to drive therapeutic programs forward to treat a variety of diseases, helping them move quickly, reduce costs, and address some of the most challenging problems in drug development.
In fact, AbCellera actually helped develop the first antibody therapy treatment for COVID-19, when, in 2021, bamlanivimab, used in combination with etesevimab, became the first monoclonal antibody drug for COVID-19 to receive the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Bamlanivimab is a recombinant and neutralizing human IgG1 monoclonal antibody directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, and designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells. It was developed from antibodies found from the blood of COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the virus, using the AbCellera pandemic response platform.
The company recently announced a new $515.6 million project that will add research and development capacity to a manufacturing plant that the federal government provided the company with money in 2020. It is currently under construction and will produce antibody therapy for clinical trials starting in front. year.
Acuitas Therapeutics specializes in the development of delivery systems for nucleic acid therapies based on lipid nanoparticles (LNP) – which are spherical drug delivery bodies that can be supplemented with therapeutic payloads for intracellular delivery, and have emerged as a promising vehicle for delivering a variety of therapies – and partners with several pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and academic institutions to advance nucleic acid therapies to clinics and markets.
By working with industrial and academic partners, the Vancouver-based biotechnology company has been able to demonstrate the potential clinical applications of messenger RNA (mRNA)-LNP as vaccines, protein replacement therapy, gene silencing, and antibody therapy. In addition, Acuitas also evaluated mRNA-LNP for gene editing applications.
It was recently announced that Acuitas and Bayer AG are joining forces, with Acuitas’ LNP technology supporting Bayer’s in vivo gene editing and protein replacement programs, with the aim of specifically delivering an RNA payload to the liver, which is a desirable target organ.
The Aspect Biosystems platform technology combines bioprinting technology, therapeutic cells, biomaterials, and computational design to build allogeneic tissue therapies. The company applies its platform to create implant tissue that replaces damaged organs to treat disease; essentially impression material for insertion into the human body.
The Vancouver-based biotechnology company has an initial focus on type 1 diabetes and liver disease. For type 1 diabetes, it aims to bioprint allogeneic cells encapsulated in immune-protective materials to create functional and reclaimable pancreatic tissue, while for liver disease, it develops first-class allogeneic bioprinted cell therapies.
It was recently announced that Aspect is partnering with Novo Nordisk in a deal potentially worth up to $2.6 billion to develop a new class of disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity. The collaboration will use Aspect’s bioprinting technology, in addition to Novo’s capabilities in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing to develop bioprinted tissue therapies designed to replace, augment, or augment biological functions.
Notch Therapeutics is developing a cellular immunotherapy suite of pluripotent stem cells specifically designed to address the underlying biology of complex disease systems.
One of his main focuses is ensuring patients receive cell therapy more quickly than usual. Typically, cell therapy involves removing cells from the patient, before they are genetically engineered and reinfused into the patient, meaning it can take weeks before the therapy is actually administered.
But, Notch wanted to overcome this limitation by making T-cells from induced pluripotent stem cells from healthy donors. Due to the fact that induced pluripotent stem cells can be cultured on a massive scale in their undifferentiated state, it means they can be a potentially limitless source of starting materials for the production of therapeutically relevant cells, and they can enable cell therapeutics to be delivered to distant patients. faster than therapy from the patient’s own tissue.
The company’s main program is currently in preclinical development and is aimed at treating hematological malignancies, in collaboration with Allogene Therapeutics. In addition, the Vancouver company has further programs focused on solid tumors and other indications.
Vancouver biotechnology company STEMCELL Technologies was founded in 1993 to meet the growing demand for standardized, cost-effective founder and chief executive officer (CEO) cell culture media for growing haematopoietic stem cells.
Today, the company has a catalog of over 2,000 products, and has become one of Canada’s leading providers of cell culture media, including reagents, recombinant cytokines, and other tools for cell culture maintenance, as well as tissue types and stem cells.
The company’s products and resources are provided to scientists around the world, and used for stem cell research, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapy.
In addition to a wide range of products, STEMCELL Technologies also offers services, which include contract test services to support customized research solutions, training programs, customized solutions, cell therapy services to support manufacturing needs, science communications, and instrument services to automate key laboratory processes and increase efficiency. .