Vancouver-based bioengineering company AbSci received $125 million in new investor funding, the company announced Tuesday.
The investment will boost AbSci’s work in developing processes to create drugs, including insulin, using E. coli microorganisms. The company in January purchased a deep-learning artificial intelligence startup called Denovium, and part of the new investment will go toward implementing and applying the new software, according to a Tuesday news release from AbSci.
AbSci is seeing rapid growth, along with the “life sciences” industry, and the pandemic has only accelerated the interest in that field. The company gained $65 million in investments in October, which allowed it to begin relocating from downtown Vancouver’s The Hudson building to new headquarters at the Columbia Tech Center at 18105 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.
The new investment is led by Casdin Capital and Redmile Group, with participation from new investors Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC, D1 Capital Partners, Perceptive Advisors, aMoon Edge, and Irving Investors, as well as other existing investors including ArrowMark Partners, according to the news release.
“We are thrilled to have such a well-respected group of life sciences investors who share our vision of transforming the way drugs are created,” said Sean McClain, founder and CEO of AbSci, in the news release.
McClain founded AbSci in 2011 in Portland with the ability to use E. coli microorganisms to “print” proteins for pharmaceutical companies. The proteins are used by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs, including insulin. AbSci says it can lower the cost of goods by 75 percent and allow drugs to reach their markets one to two years earlier.
AbSci moved to Vancouver in 2016 after Gov. Jay Inslee invested $200,000 into the company from his Strategic Reserve Fund.
The company plans on hiring about 100 new employees by the end of the year, McClain told The Columbian in December.