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AbCellera co-founder  Véronique Lecault, who joined the company’s board of directors Thursday. (AbCellera Photo)

AbCellera, a biotech startup based in Vancouver, B.C., announced Thursday that it has raised a $10 million series A round to expand its antibody therapy discovery program.

AbCellera co-founder Véronique Lecault told GeekWire the company had raised less than $1 million prior to the new round, making this the first significant funding raised by the company. The round was led by Silicon Valley fund DCVC Bio and one of the fund’s managing partners, John Hamer, will join AbCellera’s board of directors.

AbCellera also announced Lecault will join the company’s board of directors and biotech executive Doug Janzen will step down from his former role as the chair of the board.

Lecault co-founded AbCellera in 2012 along with CEO Carl Hansen, business development and strategy leader Kevin Heyries, engineer Daniel Da Costa and cell screening group leader Kathleen Lisaingo. Both AbCellera and its technology grew out of work at the University of British Columbia. It now has 60 employees.

The company’s platform uses single B cell screening and advanced sequencing to unearth huge amounts of data on antibodies. It then uses machine learning and custom data visualization tools to narrow down the data into antibodies that could be used for a variety of therapeutic options, like antibody immunotherapy treatments for cancer.

AbCellera specializes in therapies that address challenging targets. Its partners include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and biotech giants like Sanofi, Merck and Pfizer.

“With this financing, we will double-down on our partnership business that has enjoyed profitable, triple-digit growth over the past 3 years,” AbCellera CEO Carl Hansen said in a press release. “In DCVC Bio, we have found the ideal funding partner to help us accelerate the success of our full-stack antibody discovery engine, one that integrates artificial intelligence with industry-leading microfluidic screening technology.”

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