AbCellera has announced a multi-target, multi-year deal with Novartis, to identify antibodies for ten therapeutic targets in Novartis’ pipeline, using a unique combination of microfluidics, high-throughput imaging, genomics, deep computing and AI.

Under the agreement, AbCellera will apply its expertise in antibody discovery and its single-cell screening technology to advance programmes on up to ten targets elected by Novartis.

In return, the firm is eligible to receive technology access, research funding, downstream milestone payments, and royalties on net sales of products.

AbCellera’s core technology is a high-throughput microfluidics system that screens millions of single antibody-producing B cells from natural sources to find the best antibodies for any given target, with high affinity, specificity, or any other relevant binding property.

The company then uses advanced genomic sequencing, AI/machine learning, and data visualisation techniques to sift through hundreds of antibody molecules to identify the best drug candidates.

The new approach has made a radical change in how antibody discovery is performed so far, reducing discover time from three months to as little as one day.

“AbCellera continues to build its reputation as a high-powered innovation shop and the premier provider for therapeutic antibody discovery from natural immune responses. This partnership with Novartis marks an important evolution of our partnering strategy, expanding from target-based collaborations to deal structures that encourage long-term relationships and provide extended technology access to select partners,” said Carl Hansen, president and chief executive of AbCellera.

Over the past three years, the group has successfully completed more than thirty antibody discovery programmes, including deals with seven global pharmaceutical companies and top-tier public and venture-backed biotech companies.