Canadian coalition prepares to share research that could help against COVID-19

June 16, 2020

For immediate release

A Canadian group of companies is days away from sharing their research results with the global scientific community in the hopes of accelerating the development of tests or treatments for COVID-19.

The Canadian COVID Coalition has volunteered their time and resources to identify the nanobodies–special antibodies found only in lamas and sharks–that are activated in the immune response against COVID-19. Full details of the approach can be found at

With initial testing now complete, the Coalition plans to publish their first results within days. Additional results will follow in late June and again in July. The three publications will be provided publicly in a unique ‘open source biology’ model to allow researchers from around the world to quickly access the data for research purposes.

Representatives of The Canadian COVID Coalition, from left to right: Eddie Johnson (Cedarlane); Jun Yan (SignalChem); Hamlet Abnousi (NovoBind); Lee Johnson (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati); Shelley King (Natural Products Canada)

We wanted an equitable model to complement the vast global effort underway, and allow all stakeholders to benefit without leaving any group or patient behind,” says Hamlet Abnousi, CEO of NovoBind, one of the five entities in the coalition. “We’re not aware of anyone else publishing their results openly like this, and we hope it leads to more effective product development.”

Abnousi and his colleagues at NovoBind, a company normally focused on immune responses in animals, recognized their ability to help when COVID-19 first appeared late in 2019. The reached out to their partners to set the wheels in motion.

“There was no hesitation,” says Jun Yan, President of SignalChem, who will create the synthetic version of the viral targets. “When Hamlet raised the idea, our whole team was immediately on board to help.”

Cedarlane, who will facilitate the generation of the antibodies, was also keen to participate.

“This is such an incredible opportunity for us to donate our time and expertise in what we know best,” says Eddie Johnson, General Manager, Cedarlane. “It’s a time when every resource has to be thrown at this monumental challenge.”

The Coalition is committed to ensuring that treatments or tests resulting from their research can get into the hands of financially vulnerable populations. They asked a trusted ally at the law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to advise on the intellectual property strategy to ensure they can meet that goal.

“It’s an honour to work with a team who is so passionate about using their unique scientific expertise to help in the fight against COVID-19,” says Lee Johnson, Partner, Patents and Innovation, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Natural Products Canada, an investor in NovoBind, is leveraging its global network to facilitate knowledge transfer efforts.

“We are incredibly proud of the efforts of this group,” says Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada. “It’s a great example of industry coming together, volunteering their best resources to address a global need without promise of monetary reward.”


Sue Coueslan, Natural Products Canada


The company offers a myriad of biologicals and biochemicals to Life Science researchers and clinicians providing products from virtually all of the World’s most renowned international manufacturers. Cedarlane provides a gateway to over two million global reagents. Customers have the advantage of freight consolidation and the convenience and cost savings inherent within. Manufactured products include monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, cell separation media, complement for tissue typing, and highly characterized neuronal cell lines. Visit

Natural Products Canada

Natural Products Canada (NPC) is the driving force behind Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster–a strategic community of SMEs, research institutes, corporations, investors, government departments, and service providers who support the development and commercialization of naturally-derived products and technologies in health and life sciences, natural resources, agriculture and agri-food, and sustainable bioproducts. NPC has over 600 opportunities in its pipeline, has completed eleven investments, and has already experienced two exits. Visit

NovoBind Livestock Technologies

NovoBind Livestock Technologies develops products that meet the growing global demand for in creased food production without the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial chemicals. Their next-generation biologics target and neutralize devastating pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause $22 billion (USD) in aggregate annual loss to producers in the poultry, shrimp, and companion animal sectors. NovoBind is currently expanding its technology platform to address other sectors of food production, including crop health.  Visit

SignalChem Lifesciences Corporation

SignalChem Lifesciences Corporation is a Canadian company focused on the research, development, and production of innovative and high-quality human recombinant cell signaling products. SignalChem strives to support scientists in academia, pharma, and biotech companies around the world by creating effective research tools to advance the basic research in life sciences and to facilitate the efforts in drug discovery and development. Visit 

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Partners in Discovery and Innovation, law firm Wilson Sonsini has one of the largest life sciences practices in the world. For more than 60 years, our attorneys have worked closely with scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors who have helped develop new and innovative discoveries in nearly every field of medicine and healthcare, from genomics, immuno-oncology, and pharmaceuticals, to diagnostics and synthetic biology. Visit