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The company received $4.8 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate global health research in the development of vaccines and antibody-based treatments for infectious diseases.
AbCellera, a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapeutic antibodies, has signed a two-year agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate global health research to develop vaccines and antibody-based treatments for infectious diseases, the company announced on March 14, 2019.
The funding will support a series of scientific collaborations between AbCellera and Gates Foundation-funded scientists working on the prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis that infect hundreds of millions of people annually and disproportionately impact developing countries, according to AbCellera. The projects will use AbCellera’s capabilities in human antibody discovery and immune repertoire profiling.
"At its best, the biotech industry is driven by a passion for science and a genuine desire to improve the human condition. We are grateful for the opportunity to join forces with some of the world’s most accomplished researchers in the fight against infectious diseases, an area that is so often overlooked due to a lack of funding and economic incentives,” said Carl Hansen, CEO of AbCellera, in a company press release. “We believe AbCellera’s human antibody discovery capabilities will have a catalytic role in the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and antibody therapies for improved global health.”
This is the second collaboration between the two organizations. In January 2017, AbCellera worked with the Gates Foundation on the discovery of high-affinity monoclonal antibodies against 10 biomarkers associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosisinfection, the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis. The resulting antibodies were involved in the development of high-sensitivity diagnostic tests. The collaborations funded under the present agreement will benefit from AbCellera’s new technology capabilities for deep profiling of antibody responses. In August 2018, AbCellera announced the acquisition of Lineage Biosciences, a spinout company that pioneered the use of next-generation sequencing technology (Rep-Seq) to capture the full diversity of antibodies generated by natural immune responses. Rep-Seq complements the functional information obtained from AbCellera’s single-cell discovery platform, increasing the diversity of antibodies identified and enabling a more rational vaccine design, AbCellera reports.
“Because our platform can screen millions of single B cells per day, allowing us to identify rare and highly-potent antibodies from patient samples, the resulting fully-human antibodies can be used for the prevention of deadly diseases for which vaccine development has proven difficult,” said Kevin Heyries, PhD, head of Business Development at AbCellera, in the press release. “It’s a fresh approach to tackling humankind’s oldest infectious adversaries.”