X-ZELL announces strategic expansion into Europe

Lennestadt, February 2021 – Award-winning Singaporean start-up, X-ZELL, has announced the opening of a new international office in Germany. 

Recently voted the second-most innovative health-tech start-up in the world1, X-ZELL has developed a powerful platform technology capable of identifying ultra-rare cancer cells in a 10ml blood sample and analysing them using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Germany’s renowned Sauerland region – a sprawling economic hub that is home to some of Germany’s largest privately owned tech businesses – will now serve as the launch pad for X-ZELL’s foray into the European diagnostics market.

“It is with great pleasure that we are finally able to announce the opening of X-ZELL Europe, and I couldn’t be more excited for it to take place where my personal journey began too,” commented X-ZELL Founder & CEO, Dr Sebastian Bhakdi, who was born in Germany and received his medical doctorate from the University of Freiburg before emigrating to Southeast Asia.

“Home to one of the largest statutory health insurance systems in the world, Germany is quickly evolving into a central hub for innovative health technology,” he explained. “By establishing an office here we hope to be able to become part of that evolution and bring a new perspective on AI-powered early cancer detection to the European healthcare market.

X-ZELL Europe’s initial focus will be on engineering and product development, as well as engaging with Europe’s innovative rare cell research and cyto-pathology community, according to Dr Bhakdi.

“We look forward to sharing our findings on circulating atypical cells with the local research community and partnering with Germany’s best and brightest on programs that will make accurate and affordable cancer screening accessible to everyone.”

New Head of Sales – Europe

Coinciding with the official launch of X-ZELL Europe, Dr Bhakdi also announced the appointment of Matthias Cichy as the company’s new Head of Sales – Europe.

Cichy previously served as Sales Director – Germany & Austria at Accelerate Diagnostics, a publicly listed diagnostics firm specialising in antimicrobial susceptibility testing and antibiotic selection.

He can draw on 25 years of experience as specialist liaison and business development lead for a variety of high-profile businesses in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry, including Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Cichy also held international management roles at Johnson & Johnson/ Veridex as well as Teleflex/ Vidacare.

At X-ZELL, his focus will be on establishing the X-ZELL brand in Germany and central Europe and promoting the company’s revolutionary 9-channel immunostaining system, the X-ZELL Cryoimmunostaining™ Suite.

Reporting directly to X-ZELL COO, Johannes Hille, who will also serve as Managing Director of the new X-ZELL Europe entity, Cichy will also support the company’s market access team in bringing the brand’s first early cancer detection test, X-ZELL Prostate™, to market in Germany.

New Head of Engineering & Product Development

Dr Bhakdi also announced the expansion of X-ZELL’s international management team. Based out of Germany, Sven Strache will join the company as Head of Engineering and Product Development. He will report directly to the X-ZELL Head Office in Singapore.

Strache can look back on a 10-year tenure with German industrial powerhouse MAN, where he served in both sales and engineering roles in Europe and the United States before heading up the company’s international ‘Revamps’ department since 2018.

He will be responsible for the ongoing development of the X-ZELL platform technology and coordinate the company’s global product development program.

New growth phase

“We are genuinely excited to welcome Sven and Matthias on board,” commented Johannes Hille. “Both of them come with impressive accolades and a wealth of experience, and both of them share that special can-do-attitude that is so important in a start-up environment.”

He added, “X-ZELL is now officially entering a new growth phase that will not only focus on the clinical and commercial validation of our rare cell detection technology, but also set the course for X-ZELL’s long-term development as a global cancer diagnostics brand.

“There is a big task ahead of us and I am proud that Sven and Matthias have joined us in taking it on.”

1Galen Growth, 2020

Media Contact:
Sebastian Grote
Head of Strategy, Marketing & Communications

About X-ZELL
Ranked among the most innovative health technology start-ups in the world, X-ZELL fuses next-generation cell detection technology with cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence to isolate and visualise ultra-rare cells in blood and frozen tissue. In 2017, the company made global headlines when it demonstrated the ability to routinely locate tumour-associated Circulating Endothelial Cells (tCEC) in small, 10mL blood samples. Widely considered one of the most promising biomarkers for the early detection of clinically significant cancers, tCEC had previously been classified as undetectable in clinical routine. From its headquarters in Singapore, X-ZELL is aiming to make tCEC-based cancer screening accessible to patients around the globe – making the young company one of the promising names in the booming cancer prevention space.




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