Dr. Megan Levings and team in the lab

The Advanced Therapeutics Manufacturing Facility (ATMF) on UBC’s Vancouver campus will be a cornerstone of Canada’s life sciences ecosystem, enabling researchers and biotech start-ups to turn their discoveries into patient-ready treatments for Canadians.   

As the first facility of its kind in Western Canada, the ATMF fills a critical and urgent need for clinical-grade biomanufacturing. Within the 25,000+ square foot Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility, research teams will engineer, manufacture and refine next-generation therapies for a range of diseases — from infectious pathogens to auto-immune disorders and cancer. Those therapies will then be brought into local clinical trials, providing people in B.C. and across Canada with the opportunity to participate in innovative clinical research.  

The ATMF will specialize in advanced cell- and gene-based therapies that are transforming how society prevents, treats and cures disease. For instance, mRNA vaccines powered by UBC discoveries enabled a nimble response to COVID-19 and have near limitless potential for the future. At the same time, cell-based therapies can be used as ‘living drugs’ that harness the body’s own immune system to cure disease.  

The ATMF will make Canada a global epicentre for the development of these advanced therapies, bringing visionary research to life and enabling partnerships between academia and industry. The state-of-the-art facility will feature clean rooms for cell therapy production and for the manufacturing of synthetic DNA constructs, gene transfer vectors and mRNA/lipid-nanoparticle (LNP) vaccines. It will be equipped with an ultra-clean ventilation system, advanced bioreactors and quality control labs, while a dedicated learning space will support the training of highly qualified personnel needed to fuel B.C. and Canada’s life sciences ecosystem.  

This project is led by Dr. Megan Levings, a world leader in developing immune-based therapies, and co-director Dr. Rob Holt, a pioneer of genomics and CAR T-cell therapy for cancer.  

Project directors:

Dr. Megan Levings (Department of Surgery, School of Biomedical Engineering, UBC), Dr. Robert Holt (Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, SFU; Department of Medical Genetics, UBC) 

Team members:

  • Sara Belga (The University of British Columbia)
  • Anna Blakney (The University of British Columbia)
  • Karen Cheung (The University of British Columbia)
  • Pieter Cullis (The University of British Columbia)
  • Laura Evgin (The University of British Columbia)
  • Bhushan Gopaluni (The University of British Columbia)
  • Kevin Hay (BC Cancer Research Institute)
  • Eric Jan (The University of British Columbia)
  • Julian Lum (BC Cancer)
  • Brad Nelson (The University of British Columbia)
  • James Piret (The University of British Columbia)
  • Nika Shakiba (The University of British Columbia)
  • Peter Zandstra (The University of British Columbia) 


  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) 
  • Providence Health Care 
  • Provincial Health Services Authority 
  • Simon Fraser University 
  • Vancouver Coastal Health  

Federal funding:

  • Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund Award: $41.76 million

This initiative was undertaken thanks in part to funding from the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund.