Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute

Portrait of Dr. Michael Houghton

Congratulations Dr. Michael Houghton!

Dr. Michael Houghton - Honorary Degree Recipient from The University of East Anglia, UK

Dr. Michael Houghton

2018 American Liver Foundation - Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award

The Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (LKSAVI or AVI) was established as the translation and commercialization hub of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology. The AVI’s mission is to help transition nascent technologies in the life sciences sector into clinical relevance, providing funding, technology development support and commercialization guidance.

Since its inception in 2013, the AVI has achieved many of its goals, including:

  • The set up and operation of a state-of-the-art computational centre;
  • The recruitment of high-calibre professionals to form a stimulating biotech environment.
  • The filing of multiple patent applications;
  • The incorporation of multiple start-ups for the future commercialization of the nascent technologies.

The AVI, led by world-recognized leaders in virology discoveries, has built a large team with strong leadership talent, collaborations with renowned scientists, and high-calibre employees with a wide range of expertise in:

  • Synthetic chemistry
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • GMP manufacturing
  • Protein biochemistry
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Computational drug discovery
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Quality assurance
  • Business Development
  • Public Health

The acquisition of a Blue Gene/Q from IBM (the fastest supercomputer in Canada) has propelled the institute into becoming a leader in using artificial intelligence (AI) for computational drug design. Using this large power processing capability and with the help of highly qualified computer modellers, the AVI has created a successful computational drug discovery centre that allows researchers to execute inexpensive high-speed in silico screening of billions of chemicals as potential therapeutic drugs.

The AVI has developed a strong partnership with the University of Alberta’s Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing (ACTM) facility. This relationship allows for the manufacturing of the AVI’s HCV vaccine under GMP standards in preparation for clinical trials. Together with our industry-experienced personnel, this association between the ACTM and the AVI provides the latter with the ability to produce high quality biological products from mammalian cells for human use. This capacity is unique and unparalleled in Alberta and Western Canada.

The Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute is located in the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Innovation at the University of Alberta.

The Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute is located in the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Innovation at the University of Alberta.