The Canadian government has agreed to provide up to $175.6m to support AbCellera in the development of antibody-based therapies against Covid-19.

In addition, the funds will be used to develop technology and manufacturing infrastructure for antibody therapies for future pandemics.

AbCellera is using its antibody discovery platform to analyse blood samples of people who have recovered from Covid-19 to potentially discover antibodies that could treat and prevent the infection.

Since 25 February, the company could identify more than 500 unique human anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in alliance with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US.

Apart from therapeutics, the discovered antibodies may also help to develop diagnostic tests for monitoring Covid-19 spread.

Canada Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains said: “Our government is mobilising its resources to confront Covid-19, supporting the researchers and businesses that are working hard to develop medical countermeasures to beat this pandemic.

“Today’s contribution will support AbCellera Biologics as they use their world-leading technology to rapidly identify solutions for Covid-19 while ensuring Canada’s long-term preparedness for future health challenges.”

The City of Vancouver has also agreed to provide support for AbCellera’s research project.

The first phase of the project will focus on improving and applying AbCellera’s antibody discovery platform to discover fully human antibodies to potentially prevent and treat Covid-19 and future pandemics.

In the project’s second phase, a manufacturing facility will be constructed in Vancouver.

AbCellera partnered with Eli Lilly in March to develop antibodies to treat and prevent Covid-19 coronavirus infection.

The partners agreed to combine AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform with Lilly’s therapeutic antibodies development, manufacturing and distribution expertise.