The CCAB is building the great Canadian biotech success story, one handshake at a time

By CCAB - April 18, 2017 1:47 pm (leave your thoughts)

The CCAB is building the great Canadian biotech success story, one handshake at a time

Story credit: Peter Azmi, i+ Business Development Studios


Many have heard “Canada has great research and fantastic scientists, but where is the great Canadian biotech company”?

Over the years, scholars and pundits have weighed in on the Canadian biotech sector1, 2. Though opinions vary, a central theme remains constant: Canada lacks the big, global biotech enterprises that are so much more common south of the border and across our shores3.


Canadian firms seem to face multiple challenges… all at once.


Key Challenges Facing New Biotech Companies in Canada

  • Access to expert business professionals that can support and guide early-stage biotechnologies through the hurdles of start-up and early growth
  • Access to financing to support asset development and commercialization activities
  • The ability to undertake preclinical and IND-enabling validation studies that enable growth and partnership
  • Access to complimentary intellectual property to maintain a pipeline and product competitiveness
  • Access to development partners for early stage technologies
  • The ability to scale and manufacture biologics and antibodies at quantities and qualities that enable company growth and better investment valuations

Tackling each of these issues is what every new biotech company heroically does everyday. So far, the story of the great Canadian biotech company has been penned through arduous struggle and many early stage companies fail to add their names to the book of Canadian successes.


Is there a better way?

The above listed challenges can be seen as falling on a continuum, or value chain, where biotech drug assets mature on the way to market approval and patient use. Solving each of these problems adds tremendous value to a company and the asset under management.

Along this value chain are strategic partners. For biotechs to succeed, deals between many organizations in the value chain are needed.


Here is the good news!

The Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB) is helping drive and support the development of Canadian biotechnology companies by addressing many these issues… in one place!

Filling key gaps in the Canadian system, CCAB supports the commercialization of biologics and antibodies by providing the following services:

  1. Experienced and expert business leadership in biotherapeutics
  2. Connections with local and international finance communities required for robust funding of early stage biotech companies
  3. Manufacturing know-how needed to scale and develop antibodies and biologics into commercial products
  4. Connections between industry and R&D intensive institutions that could support late-stage asset development

CCAB sits at the nexus of one of Canada’s most dynamic and innovative biologics discovery and development hubs. CCAB coordinates a diverse network of stakeholders and partners including the NRC to help move early-stage biologic and antibody assets from the laboratory through to clinical development.

CCAB is partnered with Canada’s top antibody and biologics research and discovery platform, the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC). CCAB facilitates access to TRAC’s world-class technology, large repertoire of antibody/biologic products, intellectual property, preclinical validation system, and experienced product development team. Promising technologies are selected for clinical development and partnered with new or existing companies for market launch.

Established in 2010 by Dr. Sachdev Sidhu, an expert in protein engineering, TRAC is a global leader antibody and biologics research and discovery powerhouse. Since then it has improved its target identification and validation with the cell biology expertise of Dr. Jason Moffat. With a portfolio of over 250 affinity reagent-based assets, many of which are license-ready and validated in preclinical disease models, TRAC provides investors and industry partners unprecedented opportunities for starting new biotech companies and expanding current pipelines.

CCAB also provides partners access to preclinical manufacturing and IND-enabling support services.   CCAB’s IND-enabling services ensures that partners and investors are supported through preclinical development. Assets that graduate from CCAB’s preclinical development program are better suited for clinical development than are assets traditionally licensed directly from universities and colleges.

CCAB adds real value to partnerships and deals by providing essential business and development services.

To date, CCAB has finalized over 100 agreements with Canadian and international partners interested in CCAB assets.

To develop strategic partnerships with industry, CCAB uses a unique “market pull” strategy. CCAB’s market pull strategy relies on deep and meaningful relationships with industry partners. By getting to know the industry’s needs first, CCAB has been successful in identifying valuable prospects, which then have a higher likelihood of being partnered, licensed or spun-out.

Since its start in 2015, CCAB has supported the development of five start-up companies and the list continues to grow.

The great Canadian biotech success story is constantly being written, and as others have pointed out, “success” really depends on the reader’s perspective. The good news is, Canada continues to build on past successes and investments to bring the best of our nation to the world. CCAB is taking a prominent role in ensuring that great Canadian R&D results in great Canadian companies.


About CCAB

The Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB) translates early stage biologics into high-value assets and products. Our Partners can access a robust portfolio of validated antibodies and biologics, powered by the University of Toronto’s antibody research and discovery engine: the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC).

Work with us to access world-class expertise, a state-of-the-art phage display discovery platform, established antibody libraries and validated screening technologies.

Inquiries or to learn more about CCAB

Christine Misquitta | Vice President – Administration and Communications | Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics | 647-715-2305 |

1. Looking for success stories in Canadian healthcare
2. Canada’s contagiously creative life sciences sector
3. List of largest biotechnology companies


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