About AVI

Established in 2013

The Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (LKSAVI) is the translation and commercialization hub of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology.

Venn diagram of LKSIoV and LKSAVI


AVI Mission

Our mission is to help transition nascent technologies in the life sciences sector into clinical relevance, providing funding, technology development support and commercialization guidance.

Logo of Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute


Since its inception, the LKSAVI has achieved many of its goals, including:


Creation and operation of a state-of-the-art computational centre


Recruitment of high-calibre professionals to form a stimulating biotech environment


Filing of multiple patent applications


Incorporation of multiple start-ups for the future commercialization of the nascent technologies

AVI Team

AVI's team is led by world-recognized leaders in virology discoveries and consists of strong leadership talent, collaborations with renowned scientists, and high-calibre employees with a wide range of expertise.


Portrait of Dr. Michael Houghton


AVI is led by world-renowned scientist, Dr. Michael Houghton, an international leader in viral hepatitis and Nobel Laureate.

Portrait of Dr. D. Lorne Tyrrell


AVI is led by both Dr. Michael Houghton and Dr. D. Lorne Tyrrell. Dr. Tyrrell is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Alberta and the Founding Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology.

A female and male researcher working in a lab.


The AVI Team consists of experts in the areas of synthetic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, protein biochemistry, virology, immunology, computational drug discovery, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, business development, and public health.




With over $60 million of investment by the provincial and federal governments, the LKSAVI occupies over 4,000 m2 of new fully equipped lab space. Furthermore, it has access to new imaging facilities, robotics to support large-scale drug and siRNA screens, as well as state-of-the-art cell-sorting equipment and cell culture.

Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing

The AVI has established a strong partnership with Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing (ACTM) to manufacture the AVI's HCV vaccine under GMP standards in preparation for clinical trials.

ACTM occupies approximately 10,000 ft2 in the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Innovation. It is equipped with six cleanrooms that allow for the manufacturing of GMP-grade biological products.

Together with AVI's industry-experienced personnel, this collaboration provides AVI with the ability to produce high quality biological products from mammalian cells for human use. As such, AVI is the leading, sole entity with this capacity not only in Alberta, but in all of Western Canada.

Blue Gene/Q

The LKSAVI is a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for computational drug design. Our acquisition of a Blue Gene/Q from IBM, the fastest supercomputer in Canada, allows for state-of-the-art drug discovery targeted at various diseases currently affecting Canadians, as well as millions of people worldwide. We are able to move drug discovery by AI beyond viruses.

This ability is strengthened by our strong partnership with Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP), an Ontario-based collaborative research consortium with 15-member academic institutions, and IBM Canada Ltd. as the lead industrial partner.

Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Innovation at the University of Alberta

The Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute and Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing are located in the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Innovation at the University of Alberta.