Vancouver-based synthetic biology company receives $125 million in new investor funds


AbSci began in 2011 and has since reimagined the way biological drugs are created

VANCOUVER — You probably didn’t even know they were there, but for the last decade, they’ve been reimagining the way medicine is made. Meet AbSci. 

The Vancouver-based company has the mission of “pioneering synthetic biology that unifies biologic drug discovery and development processes.” In other words, they are designing drugs that work the way you do.

Vancouver-based AbSci has the mission of “pioneering synthetic biology that unifies biologic drug discovery and development processes.” In other words, they are designing drugs that work the way you do. Photo courtesy of AbSci
Vancouver-based AbSci has the mission of “pioneering synthetic biology that unifies biologic drug discovery and development processes.” In other words, they are designing drugs that work the way you do. Photo courtesy of AbSci

To go a step farther, AbSci helps create biopharmaceuticals, also known as biologics. These are any drug made in, taken from or made from biological sources. In some cases, vaccines fit into this category.  

Earlier this week, the company announced they had received $125 million in crossover financing. The best part? A large part of this funding stream is being used for development of the company’s newly acquired deep learning artificial intelligence platform.   

The crossover was co-led by existing investors 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.

“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,” Sean McClain, founder and CEO of AbSci said in a release. “As we unlock access to novel biologies and therapeutic modalities, and work with our partners to create exciting new medicines, we are continuing to innovate and expand the scope of what we can accomplish and the impact we can have to improve human health.”

Sean McClain, founder and CEO of AbSci
Sean McClain, founder and CEO of AbSci

Ever since McClain started AbSci in 2011, the company has been growing exponentially. Research and development has exploded, with more than 100 employees and new student interns working with the company headquartered in downtown Vancouver each year.

AbSci is currently looking to expand in key areas, and has more than a dozen open positions in a wide variety of fields and disciplines. The new funding stream will support AbSci’s continued growth, including research and development activities and other strategic investments.   

As teased above, the integration and training of the Denovium EngineTM deep learning artificial intelligence platform AbSci acquired in January 2021, as well as ongoing expansion of core discovery capabilities including non-standard amino acid technologies will be significantly boosted by the funding.

“In the short time since the Series E, AbSci has made tremendous progress, advancing drug discovery technologies, acquiring Denovium, a state-of-the-art deep learning platform for protein engineering, and announcing partnerships with both Merck and Astellas,” Eli Casdin, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of Casdin Capital said in a release. “We look forward to seeing AbSci continue to execute on its vision.”

With the overarching goal of biopharmaceutical drug discovery, AbSci uses their patented SoluPro® E. coli expression system and Protein Printing™ platform, informed by Denovium, to enable simultaneous creation of unique biotherapeutic drugs and the cell lines to manufacture them in a single efficient process. 

Put another way, AbSci is identifying the best candidates out of cells being used when producing a new drug so the process can have optimal potency, versatility and longevity.  

“We believe that AbSci has a truly differentiated approach, which includes a fully integrated technology for simultaneously discovering new biologics and the cell lines to manufacture them,” Dan Sundheim, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of D1 Capital Partners said in a release. “We are excited to support the company as it advances programs with partners and participates in creating better medicines for patients.”

Starting with a known drug sequence or with a target for de novo discovery, (creating an artificial protein sequence), AbSci’s approach dramatically accelerates biopharma timelines from years to weeks. 

With more than a dozen partnerships in place with top pharma and industry leaders, their collaborations include projects for drugs and drug candidates that range across multiple protein types and therapeutic uses. 

To learn more about AbSci visit www.absci.com

Information provided by AbSci, CORP

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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a graduate of WSU Pullman’s Edward R. Murrow College where he studied journalism and media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and abroad in Argentina. He has won a regional Emmy and Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his film work. His passions range from sharing the love of Jesus, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife and son in Vancouver, WA. Proverbs 16:3

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