AbCellera secondary deal sees senior leaders sell 11.9 million shares

AbCellera's leadership team in a company lab

Vancouver-based biotechnology firm AbCellera has announced a new secondary deal, which saw entities owned and controlled by senior leaders at the company, including CEO and co-founder Carl Hansen, agree to sell some of their shares in the company.

The deal comes six months after AbCellera completed the largest-ever IPO for a Canadian biotech firm.

The company said the sale of shares came about in response to inbound inquiries from a group of institutional investors who were already investors in AbCellera. A total of 11.9 million common shares were sold. The total proceeds from this secondary offering were not disclosed, and AbCellera did not receive any proceeds from the offering.

AbCellera said Hansen’s sale was made in connection with “estate planning, technology investing, and charitable giving.” Following the sale and allocation of capital to charitable donations, Hansen remains AbCellera’s largest shareholder with approximately 54.3 million common shares, representing an approximate 20 percent equity interest on an undiluted basis.

The selling shareholders are retaining approximately 89 percent of their total equity holdings following this deal, which represents approximately 30 percent of AbCellera’s fully diluted shares.

The deal comes six months after AbCellera completed the largest-ever initial public offering (IPO) for a Canadian biotech firm. At the time of the $555 million IPO, which put it on the Nasdaq, AbCellera’s market capitalization was $12.65 billion.

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AbCellera has developed a drug discovery platform that searches and analyzes immune systems to find antibodies that can be used to prevent and treat disease. The firm was founded in 2012 and has played an important role in finding and developing treatments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to going public, Health Canada granted AbCellera interim authorization for a human antibody therapy it developed in partnership with Lilly. In clinical trials, the treatment proved to reduce viral load, symptoms, and hospitalizations for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. That drug later got approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat certain COVID-19 patients.

In April, AbCellera announced plans to open a new 380,000 square-foot hub in Vancouver that would serve as its new headquarters, which will comprise two facilities set to be completed in the next two to three years. AbCellera said it planned to add “hundreds” of new employees, with a focus on software, engineering, and bioscience talent.

Image source AbCellera.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.