Life Sciences in Metro VancouverLife Sciences in Metro Vancouver, Life Sciences<div class="ExternalClass9E4B778C66D34C8AA83A32BC8F8F489B"><h3>Shaping a globally prominent R&D hub</h3></div>​<br>AbCellerargba(3,239,194,.95)

Key Industries / Life Sciences / Life Sciences in Metro Vancouver: Shaping a Globally Prominent R&D Hub

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It's time to embrace the lab coat in Metro Vancouver.

​April 2023 – ​A new report from Invest Vancouver, Life Sciences in Metro Vancouver: Shaping a Globally Prominent R&D Hub, highlights the many ways our region's life sciences industry is attracting global attention and identifies key recommendations to encourage its growth.

Metro Vancouver's vibrant life sciences industry has made a number of major contributions to public health in recent years, including developing crucial COVID-19 vaccine technology, advancing cancer treatment, and delivering antibody-based medicines for diseases such as COVID-19 and cancer. Our region also has the fastest-growing life sciences company in Canada, AbCellera.

The report features findings from comprehensive interviews with firms and an analysis of over 20 years of economic data. This approach taken by Invest Vancouver provides an extensive and current understanding of the region as a life sciences hub and what actions can support additional growth including controlling costs, accessing web lab space, and needing to attract talent.​


" Invest Vancouver’s latest report captures very well the strengths and needs of the life sciences industry. Coordination across government, our industry associations, and investment attraction agencies can help us overcome barriers to unlocking further growth in an industry that is increasingly pl​aying a prominent role in our regional economy. "

- Kenneth Galbraith,Chair & CEO of Zymeworks

​​​​​​​Key report recommendations​​​​​​

1. Provide wet lab space

The lack of wet lab space — laboratories where chemicals, drugs, or other material or biological matter are tested — is a major bottleneck for growth. Building wet lab spaces that are supported or partially funded would maintain the industry’s position as a research and development hub and spur growth.

2. Attract the right talent

The industry relies on a pool of highly-trained, specialized workers. Increasing the size of the talent pool is critical to industry growth. Alongside talent development, the region needs to actively attract those with the skill sets required to grow the industry through dedicated talent attraction staff, recruitment missions, and international student retention.

3. Help with cost controls

The life sciences industry is capital intensive, therefore controlling costs and stretching dollars is a matter of survival early on. Economies of scale, such as through pooled buying power, are one way to help individual firms lower their costs.

Embrace the Lab Coat Campaign

Research and development is thriving in the Metro Vancouver region. The heart of the regional life sciences industry, R&D’s contribution to GDP is 2.6 times higher than it was in 2001. To showcase this strength, Invest Vancouver is launching the "Embrace the Lab Coat" campaign. Over the coming weeks, Invest Vancouver will update this webpage with stories highlighting some of the best R&D advancements being led by companies from the Metro Vancouver region. Let's celebrate and embrace our power in R&D and innovation in Metro Vancouver!​



Acuitas Therapeutics1Acuitas TherapeuticsAcuitas<div class="ExternalClass0BAE851D4D924CA581CF73BB1AB7BD7C"><p>The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine <em>COMIRNATY</em><sup>®</sup>, administered to billions around the world to reduce the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, is enabled by the lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology developed by Acuitas Therapeutics, a Vancouver-based biotech company that specializes in developing LNP delivery systems for nucleic acid therapeutics – including mRNA vaccines.</p><p>The Acuitas LNP enables the mRNA vaccine to do its important – and often lifesaving – work, delivering the mRNA safely into human cells.</p><p>In the thick of the pandemic, when much of the world was hit with lockdowns, scientists at Acuitas were working flat out to support the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. </p><p>Acuitas was founded in 2009 by Drs. Thomas Madden, Michael Hope and Pieter Cullis. The founders have spent more than four decades focusing on the development of LNP technology. Dr. Madden is the President & CEO of Acuitas.</p><p>The ongoing research and development by the Acuitas team has facilitated a revolution in medicine, creating the potential to treat novel viruses such as COVID-19, but also historically challenging diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and cancer.    </p><p>Through ongoing R&D, the safety and eSfficacy of Acuitas' LNP (validated billions of times on the global stage), their commitment to supporting their team, the mentorship of young scientists, and their dedicated focus on fostering a culture of innovation in the region, Drs. Madden, Hope and Cullis have become key figures in the Metro Vancouver biotech community.​​<br></p><p>Acuitas' contributions to research and development in the scientific field are clear, and the company's success is now a testament to the founders' pioneering work.​</p></div>, Acuitas TherapeuticsEvery dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine COMIRNATY® is enabled by delivery technology developed by Vancouver-based biotech company Acuitas Therapeutics.
Zymeworks2ZymeworksZymeworks<div class="ExternalClassBB8080F400554EBBAB4AF9D55AAE1A5D"><p>Sitting in the heart of Mount Pleasant is a team focused on changing the therapeutic landscape for difficult-to-treat cancers and other serious diseases. </p><p>Founded in 2003, Zymeworks entered the biotech scene with the belief that digital disruption could radically improve drug design, and quickly became a fascinating example of the marriage between technology and biology.​ </p><p>Through innovative made-in-Canada software, developing and testing drugs can now start via computer simulation, allowing for a faster and more-cost effective process. </p><p>The team had a big year in 2017, when its main product zanidatamab, an investigational bispecific antibody targeting difficult-to-treat diseases such as gastric and biliary tract cancers, advanced to clinical trials in the U.S. Zymeworks also secured major partnerships with Merck and Johnson & Johnson, among several others. </p><p>That same year, Zymeworks evolved from a private company to a public one, launching in both American and Canadian trading markets.</p><p>Zymeworks has since grown into one of the largest Canadian biotechnology companies. Their complementary therapeutic platforms and fully integrated drug development engine provide the flexibility and compatibility to precisely engineer and develop highly differentiated antibody-based therapeutics.</p><p>Recently, the company announced positive top-line results from their pivotal clinical trial investigating zanidatamab in patients with HER2-amplified and expressing biliary tract cancers. Along with those results, Zymeworks announced a transformative partnership with Jazz Pharmaceuticals, to develop and commercialize zanidatamab. This partnership enables the product to potentially reach patients faster, while providing Zymeworks with financial resources to focus on their exciting preclinical programs.</p><p>The fast-growing team at Zymeworks is now a leading player in the development of multifunctional biologics.​​<br></p></div>, ZymeworksZymeworks is a local biotech advancing clinical-stage trials for treatments related to a number of cancers.
AbCellera3AbCelleraAbCellera<div class="ExternalClassBA0D98B93A604898ABE4BFC19A4ADA4C"><p>AbCellera, born at the University of British Columbia, is an anchor company building biotech in BC. AbCellera is breaking the barriers of conventional antibody drug discovery to bring better medicines to patients, sooner. It was started just a decade ago by six entrepreneurial founders and is now a global company of ~500 employees.</p><p>AbCellera and its partners are working together on more than 100 programs to discover antibody medicines to treat indications such as cancer, neurodegeneration, autoimmune disease, pain, and more. To date, eight of those programs have reached human clinical trials.</p><p>This relatively young company is already making significant contributions to human health. During the pandemic, together with Eli Lilly and Company, AbCellera co-developed two antibody treatments for COVID-19, including the first to be authorized by the U.S. FDA and Health Canada.</p><p>AbCellera's COVID-19 antibody treatments have been used to treat more than 2.5 million patients, and are estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives.</p><p>AbCellera is also making significant investments in BC: it is building its Vancouver headquarters, including a campus in Mount Pleasant and a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility to make clinical-grade antibodies.</p><p>The GMP manufacturing facility will be the first facility of its kind in Canada, strengthening Canada's ability to respond to future pandemics and enabling new antibody medicines that are discovered in Canada, to be manufactured here for clinical trials.</p><p>AbCellera's campus will be a creative hub where leading machine learning, software development, scientific research, and clinical manufacturing talent contribute to improving the discovery and development of antibody-based medicines and empowering trainees to take the next steps in their careers here in Canada.</p><p>AbCellera is forging the way for the next generation  of biotech companies, helping to build the life sciences ecosystem and knowledge economy in Vancouver for the benefit of patients in BC and around the world.​<br></p></div>, AbCelleraAbCellera is breaking the barriers of conventional antibody drug discovery to bring better medicines to patients, sooner.

Interested in investing in life sciences within the Metro Vancouver region? Contact us​​​


​​​​​​​About Invest Vancouver

Invest Vancouver is the Metro Vancouver region’s economic development leadership service, created to advance broadly shared prosperity for all residents of the region. The mission of Invest Vancouver is to position the region for success in a rapidly evolving global economy.

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