With new US ownership, it's full steam ahead for BC life sciences company Precision NanoSystems Inc.

CEO says the acquisition will not impact previously announced plans to build $50 million biomanufacturing centre in Vancouver.

Earlier this week, news broke that Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI) had been acquired by Danaher Corporation’s Life Sciences platform for an undisclosed amount. Helmed by James Taylor, PNI is a leader in technologies and solutions for the development of genetic medicines, including mRNA vaccines and therapeutics.

While one might view the Danaher sale as yet another BC firm—and its corresponding talent and IP—lost to a US giant, Taylor calls the news “fantastic for everyone involved in Vancouver.”

Taylor says Danaher will be a critical partner and help his company carry out its mission to accelerate the creation of transformative medicines. “This provides us with a much bigger platform for global commercialization and growth,” he told Vancouver Tech Journal. PNI co-founder and AbCellera CEO Carl Hansen also echoed this sentiment in a LinkedIn post, calling the development “one of the most significant M&A’s ever in BC!”

A decade-plus old company, PNI has found itself, as well BC’s larger life sciences sector, in the spotlight over the past year as people, businesses and governments have rallied together to defeat the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm’s role has been significant. Last fall, PNI received $18.2 million from the federal government to advance a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to clinical trials. And this February, the company received $25.1 million through the federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support the construction of a $50.2-million biomanufacturing centre in Vancouver. The centre will be dedicated to the production of vaccines and genetic medicines and bolster the country’s overall capacity to produce critical medicines for the prevention and treatment of diseases such as COVID-19.

This week’s acquisition will have no impact on the company’s current projects, says Taylor. “We’ll continue to pursue those in the same fashion, but also now with a much bigger player in the mix.”

When asked how the acquisition came to fruition, Taylor wouldn’t say much, except that PNI’s clients already use Danaher technology, specifically, under the Danaher life sciences platform. So, joining the Danaher family puts PNI in a position to partner with other related companies and “provide...complete solutions that really serve our customers better,” he shared.

In regard to the recent surge in attention on PNI and BC’s biotech industry, Taylor said he believes people are realizing the power and importance of biotech as a field. “It’s been important for a long period of time,” he pointed out, “but there's a big convergence of fundamental understandings of biology, new technology development, and new capabilities that allow us to really solve big problems in big ways.

“And with COVID, it definitely became clear just how critical the field is to helping to solve societal ills and giant challenges.”