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Dr. Carl Hansen

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Class of 2022, Canada

Dr. Carl Hansen, CEO and President of AbCellera Biologics

Scientist and CEO Carl Hansen pioneered a platform for rapid drug discovery. 

Scientist-turned-CEO Carl Hansen has a vision: to make drug discovery more efficient and cost effective and to bring treatments to patients faster. As the technology underpinning drug discovery hadn’t changed for 30 years, Carl set out to reinvent it. To realize this ambition, he co-founded a biotechnology firm, AbCellera Biologics, and created an AI-powered antibody drug discovery platform.

A professor of physics and biotechnology, Carl launched the company from his research lab at the University of British Columbia. He developed a methodology of identifying antibodies using data science, protein engineering and artificial intelligence that compresses a process that normally takes years into months. 

In early 2020, his team at AbCellera got to work on a blood sample from a person who had recently recovered from COVID-19. Within weeks, they identified the antibodies that worked best to fight the virus. In collaboration with a partner pharmaceutical company, AbCellera developed bamlanivimab, one of the first monoclonal antibody treatments approved for use in the US. It specifically targets the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19 and has been used in the treatment of over 700,000 patients.   

Following the success of his antibody discovery platform with bamlanivimab, Carl led AbCellera to its 2020 listing on Nasdaq. He continues to partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, empowering them to tackle the toughest problems in drug development. Carl says: “Success is not a destination. It’s the process of making progress toward a vision of a better future.”

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