AbCellera, tapped by Lilly for its COVID-19 antibody therapy, sets IPO terms with $5B valuation

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Canada’s speedy R&D engine AbCellera, now world-renowned for its tech producing the Eli Lilly COVID-19 drug authorized by the FDA, has set terms for a monster IPO.

The Vancouver-based company, which is not a biotech but uses artificial intelligence to speed up drug research, plans to raise a massive $357 million on the Nasdaq by offering 23 million shares at a price range of $14 to $17, with the company valued at the midpoint range at around $5 billion. Its ticker will be "ABCL."

The 2020 Fierce 15 winner was tapped by Lilly to find the human anitbody bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) earlier this year. The Big Pharma swiftly developed the drug and last month got off an emergency use agreement with the FDA to treat certain COVID-19 patients, putting AbCellera on the map.

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In March, AbCellera got off a $105 million series B from the likes of Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and tech/occasional life science investor, and Eli Lilly. In May, Canada's government also gave it a financial boost, pledging up to $175.6 million in support under the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund.

Now, it’s going public in the hope of getting more of its antibody work, which includes areas outside of COVID-19, out to partners.