Prominent Thai physician comes out in support of X-ZELL Inc. agenda
Echoing X-ZELL Inc. CEO Dr Sebastian Chakrit Bhakdi’s review of Johns Hopkins University’s CancerSeek study, Prof Dr O-Charoenrat said, “Early cancer detection is a complex issue, and as shown by the team at Johns Hopkins University, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
He added that X-ZELL Inc.’s approach of detecting so-called Circulating Endothelial Cells (CEC) in blood may be the key to finding what Science Magazine called the “Holy Grail” of cancer prevention – a multi-cancer screening solution.
“X-ZELL Inc. has not only found a powerful, cell-based alternative that is directly linked to the tumour itself, but also chose to evaluate it for each indication separately before making the move to creating a universal cancer blood test. It’s smart, simple and, looking at early data, very successful indeed.”
According to Dr Bhakdi, X-ZELL Inc.’s cancer-by-cancer, market-by-market research could the company come close to a multi-cancer solution within the next decade, with organ-specific tests alredy slated for commercial launch in Thailand in 2018.
Established in 2009 with investment from Vichit Suraphongchai – one of the leading figures in Southeast Asian banking – and material support from Thailand’s premier science university, Mahidol University, X-ZELL Inc. started out as a classic university spin-off.
It is the brainchild of Dr Sebastian Chakrit Punyaratabandhu Bhakdi, a German-Thai physician who was working in Bangkok on a fellowship from the German Research Foundation (GFR) when he came across a new way of magnetically separating malaria cells from a blood sample. Upon conclusion of his research, Dr Bhakdi continued to refine the technology and successfully applied it to cancer cell detection, which eventually led to the creation of X-ZELL Inc. The young company’s international breakthrough then came at Y Combinator’s W15 Winter Batch in early 2016, where it showcased a new way of reliably detecting ultra-rare CEC at an early stage – allowing physicians to diagnose malign cancer when it is still treatable. X-ZELL Inc. completed the program with a rare Honourable Mention and seed investment by various Silicon Valley-based angel investors, among them US start-up guru, Paul Buchheit – the creator and lead developer of Gmail. After returning to Bangkok, Dr Bhakdi fast-tracked the company’s corporate evolution with the opening of X-ZELL Inc.’s first overseas office in Sunnyvale, California, and the recruitment of key investor and COO, Johannes Hille, in early 2017. Since then, the company has launched myriad research projects and successfully brought its first commercial cancer test, X-ZELL Prostate™, to market in the Kingdom of Thailand.