AbCellera revenue surges 1,900% as biotech reveals first financials since IPO

Vancouver company goes from US$2m loss to US$119m profit

AbCellera's headquarters in Vancouver | Photo: Tyler Orton, BIV

While the pandemic has rattled much of the economy over the past year, it’s had just the opposite effect on at least one B.C. biotech.

Revenue at Vancouver-based AbCellera Biologics Inc. (TSX:ABCL) surged 1,908% annually to reach US$233 million over the last fiscal year, according to the first financials the company has released since going public in December.

After delivering the 2020 financial results on Monday, chief financial officer Andrew Booth said he expects the company’s revenue to come in at between US$190 million and US$210 million for the first quarter of 2021 alone.

AbCellera, best known for specializing in antibody discovery and partnering up with American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY) on a COVID-19 treatment, raised US$555 million through a blockbuster initial public offering in December 2020.

The company is now expanding its physical presence in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, with plans for a new facility as it seeks to double its 200-person headcount by the end of the year. It ultimately wants to hire 1,000 workers over the next seven years.

Profit at the company was also significant, reaching US$119 million in 2020 compared with a net loss of US$2 million a year earlier.

AbCellera’s ascent has been sharp over the past year as the pandemic showcased its technology.

Lilly has been tapping the Vancouver biotech’s platform to zero in on antibodies generated in a natural immune response to the novel coronavirus.

The treatment has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in orders from the U.S. government, while 400,000 patients have received the therapy.

The therapy, known as bamlanivimab, has been authorized for use in 15 countries and AbCellera has been reaping royalties from the deal.

Last year also saw Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel join the company’s board in the lead-up to the IPO.