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The new Absci headquarters in Vancouver, Wash. (Absci Photo / Eric Harrod)

Abscicut the ribbon on its new headquarters in Vancouver, Wash., on Tuesday, barely three months after going publicin an IPOthat valued the biotech company at nearly $2 billion.

The 200-employee company now has room to expand, with 77,400 square feet of new office and lab space and a 9,150 square foot courtyard. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee attended the event.

“Absci has been an incredibly positive force in the Vancouver community since establishing its headquarters here in 2016,” said Inslee ina statement.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at the ribbon cutting for Absci’s new headquarters. (Absci Photo / Kim Nguyen)

Absci occupies an unusual geographic niche, based in Washington state but part of the Portland, Ore., area. The biotech, which provides drug and drug target discovery services to other companies, pulls employees from both states.

Absci was started in 2011 in a basement lab in Portland by CEO and founderSean McClain,when he was only 22. He later moved the company to Vancouver’s downtown, a few miles from the new headquarters.

The facility was built in a close collaboration between Absci, Portland design firm Bora Architecture & Interiors, and contractor Bremik Construction. The company leases the space from Pac Trust.

“We designed the light-filled space around collaboration and the pursuit of scientific excellence,” said McClain in a statement.

Gov. Inslee (standing) explores Absci’s new labs. (Absci Photo / Kim Nguyen)

McClain envisions that Absci will ultimately become the “Google of synthetic biology,” he previouslytold GeekWire.

The company uses in silico models to optimize designs of protein therapeutics, and synthetic biology approaches and custom-engineeredE. colistrains to manufacture them and screen them for optimal activity. To support its platform, Absci recently acquired synthetic biology company Totient and deep learning startup Denovium, which analyzes protein function and behavior.

Absci has partnerships with several drug companies including Merk and Xyphos Biotechnology. In October Absci inked a partnership with EQRx, whichaims to makeless expensive versions of approved drugs. The partnership will “advance next-generation, protein-based therapeutics at more affordable costs for patients,” according toa statementannouncing the collaboration.

Absci is in the earlier stages of signing up partners and growing revenue, which last year was $4.7 million, up from $2 million for 2019. Revenuewas $0.7 millionfor the second quarter of this year.

Gov. Jay Inslee (second from right) with Absci CEO Sean McClain (third from right) and others at Absci’s new headquarters. (Absci Photo / Kim Nguyen)

The new building adds to the state’s inventory of badly needed lab space. Seattle had only about a 2% vacancy rate for lab space in 2020,according toCBRE research. A new life sciences hub is being built at Seattle’salmost three-acre Mercer Mega Blockand this September Adaptive Biotechnologies unveiledits new headquartersin the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

Absci is one ofa fewPortland area IPOs in the last ten years. Vancouver laser-makernLight went publicin 2018, and ZoomInfo, also from Vancouver,raised $887 millionin its June 2020 IPO.

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