Rethinking Biotech: How big, long-term bets are paying off

Episode Summary

When AbCellera went public last December, it quickly became the most valuable biotech company in Canada. The reason for all the excitement was the firm’s antibody-based treatment for Covid-19, called bamlanivimab, produced in partnership with Eli Lily. It has been approved for use in 15 countries, and given as treatment to more than 400,000 patients. But AbCellera is more than just that one treatment. The B.C. company has formed more than 100 partnerships with 27 different partners to find antibody treatments for a range of ailments. And its success has shone a spotlight on Canada’s small but rapidly growing life sciences sector, where the 10 largest biotech companies now have a market capitalization that tops $28 billion. Biotech has quickly become one of the most important emerging sectors in the Canadian economy. In this episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, host John Stackhouse speaks with AbCellera founder and CEO Dr. Carl Hansen about the future of his company—and the road ahead for Canada’s burgeoning biotech industry. As Hansen makes clear, the underlying technologies for understanding biological systems have only just come of age. And with a recent influx of capital and innovation, groundbreaking discoveries are set to become even more commonplace—with Canadian innovators leading the way.

Episode Notes

To learn more about AbCellera and its antibody discovery platform, follow this link.

Canada’s biotech sector was in the spotlight during Covid. To learn more about how it responded—and how the national industry association BIOTECanada views the future of its ecosystem—check out the October 2020 report, Canadian Biotechnology: Solving for today. Building for tomorrow

In his intro, John talks about some of Canada’s supply-chain challenges coming out of the pandemic. For more on the topic from the RBC Economics and Thought Leadership Team, read our recently released report,Trading Places: Canada’s place in a changing global economy, by following this link.