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Sept. 25, 2020

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Vancouver-based AbSci raises $12 million for research product

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

AbSci raised $12 million in its latest funding round to ramp up production and marketing of its drug-research product, the Vancouver bioscience firm announced Wednesday morning.

CEO Sean McClain said the infusion shows the rising demand for AbSci’s SoluPro platform, an engineered E. coli that quickly produces protein and antibodies. Drugmakers license the platform for research and development, banking that its rapid output will cut costs.

“We are excited to have so much interest in this round,” McClain said in a statement. “Our system has achieved unparalleled productivities for a wide array of biopharmaceuticals, including insulin and other difficult to produce molecules, resulting in dramatic reductions to manufacturing (costs).”

Drug treatments that use the technology include those for cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

AbSci plans to spend the new funds on improving products, the announcement said, such as refining screening technology and “advancing the development of novel platform tools.”

AGC Biologics, the life science arm of Japanese glass manufacturer Asahi Glass Co., led the funding round and will get a seat on AbSci’s board of directors.

Columbia Ventures Corporation also invested. The Vancouver firm has been highlighted for its new plan to rein in global investment strategies and instead fund startups closer to home, including putting $14 million into local hardware company RealWear.

Prior investors such as Phoenix Venture Partners, Oregon Venture Fund and others also participated in the latest funding round, according to the release.

After echoing McClain’s statements of how the investors demonstrate AbSci’s potential, Zach Jonasson, board chairman and managing partner of Phoenix Venture Partners, said the investments will “accelerate commercialization of the company’s platform, including for full-length antibody and biosimilars production.”

AbSci, founded in 2011, is headquartered in downtown Vancouver’s Hudson Building.

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