Aspire to Tech – AbCellera

Member Spotlight

Tell me about your company. When were you founded? What do you do? Where are you located?

AbCellera was founded in 2012 out of the University of British Columbia.  AbCellera is a Vancouver-based tech company that finds antibodies — proteins made by our immune systems — that can be used to treat and prevent disease.  Our offices are located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of beautiful Vancouver. We are close to the heart of the city, with restaurants, breweries, mountains, trails and views of the ocean nearby.

What is the big problem your company is tackling?

Discovering new drugs costs too much, takes too long, and fails too often. To address this challenge, we have developed a technology stack that aims to bring an idea to an approved drug faster, and increase the probability of success. We partner with drug developers of all sizes to find the best antibodies that can be developed into treatments.

What are you most proud of in terms of company milestones?

Since 2018, AbCellera has been working with DARPA as part of the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program to adapt our platform for pandemic response and to rapidly generate effective therapeutics.

By the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our technology stack had already been pressure-tested twice in simulated pandemic responses. When it happened for real, the team mobilized. In the spring of 2020, we received a blood sample from a recovered patient. Just 90 days later our lead antibody candidate, selected by our partner Eli Lilly, became the first-ever COVID-19 monoclonal antibody to enter clinical trials in North America.

To date, the antibody (bamlanivimab) has been used to treat 500,000 patients across the world and has saved thousands of lives. We are extremely proud of our team and the work we have done in the fight against COVID-19. And by crushing the normal drug discovery timeline, we have shown that it can be done in a better way with continued investments in technology and innovation.

How would you describe your company culture?

Teamwork is the key to AbCellera’s success and a fundamental part of our culture. We hire innovators, thinkers, collaborators, and do-ers. Together, we push the limits of science and technology. The synergy that can be achieved by collaborating and working together towards the same mission is greater than the sum of our parts. We all strive to make an impact, and are proud to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

What are three words that you would use to describe your company

Catalyzing: We strive to create value for our partners and the patients they serve. Our model is win-win — when our partners succeed, so do we.

Exploring: We’re not afraid to ask the tough questions, and we don’t settle for the way things are. We take the road less traveled, and are forging a path towards a better model for drug discovery.

Caring: AbCellera’s foundational belief is that team is everything, and we strongly believe that healthy work-life synergy creates the best team players.

What is it like to work at your company? Why is it a great place to work?

The best part of AbCellera is our people. We have a highly multidisciplinary team of scientists, software developers, data analysts, machine learning scientists, and business professionals to support all of our operations. We’re pushing the boundaries of science and technology, doing work that matters, and doing it while having fun. We move fast and take on big challenges, and there are unlimited opportunities for learning and growth.

In their own words – what do your employees say?

Are you hiring? 

Yes! And you don’t need a background in biology or life science to make an impact at AbCellera. Our AI-powered tech stack searches, analyzes and decodes natural immune responses to find the best antibodies that can be used to treat and prevent disease. We’re recruiting globally, looking for software developers, machine learning scientists, data analysts, data scientists, engineers and business professionals to bring treatments to patients faster.

We’ve broken ground on our 380,000-square-foot Global Headquarters and our 130,000-square-foot GMP facility in Mount Pleasant, and expect to hire hundreds of scientific and tech professionals over the next few years. These new sites will drive new capabilities and jobs in Canada, enrich Vancouver’s tech and scientific communities by attracting talented minds from around the world, and serve as creative hubs for tech professionals, biologists, biochemists and bioinformaticians to collaborate, innovate, and push the frontiers of technology.

Our team is composed of ambitious, adventurous thinkers who are energized by solving hard, important problems in entirely new ways. If you like to learn, to build things, to challenge yourself and those around you, to work with passionate colleagues, and you want your work to have a real impact, AbCellera is the place to be.

Check out our website to see our current job opportunities!