X-ZELL secures investment by German industrial services powerhouse, DIAG

Singapore/ Essen, October 2019 – German industrial services specialist, Deutsche Industrieanlagen (DIAG), has officially joined X-ZELL’s US$3m Seed+ funding round.

Ranked amongst Asia’s 50 most innovative health technology start-ups for two years running, X-ZELL specialises in the detection of early stage cancers from small blood and tissue samples.

The company recently made headlines for successfully isolating and visualising tumour-associated Circulating Endothelial Cells (tCEC) from the blood of high-risk prostate cancer patients.

Long considered undetectable in clinical routine, these ultra-rare cells help physicians diagnose clinically significant cancers early, when they can be cured – in turn avoiding more than 70 per cent of unnecessary interventions and saving billions to health systems worldwide.

Based out of Essen, Germany, DIAG’s core expertise is in the oil & gas industry, as well as renewable energy, mining and infrastructure development.

X-ZELL is the company’s first investment in the burgeoning biotechnology space, according to Managing Partner, Dr Klaus Lesker. “Part of our ongoing diversification strategy is to identify the most promising future growth markets and align ourselves with businesses that have the potential to leave their mark on them,” he explained. 

“Disease prevention and early detection are among the most pressing medical challenges of our time, which is why we are extremely excited to be investing in X-ZELL’s patented rare cell detection technology and the professional team behind it.”

Managing Director, Martin Wiechers, added that DIAG’s global footprint would instantly benefit the growing X-ZELL organisation. “With our extensive experience in product development, sales and marketing, as well as our vast international network, we believe DIAG can contribute significantly to the ongoing growth of X-ZELL.”

Dr Sebastian Bhakdi, Founder & CEO of X-ZELL, commented, “It’s an absolute privilege to be able to welcome a long-standing name like DIAG on board as X-ZELL’s first institutional investor since Y Combinator joined us in 2016.

“DIAG can draw on a rich tradition in the industrial services space and will enable us to continue scaling up the X-ZELL organisation so we can help as many patients as possible, as soon as possible.”

Dr Bhakdi added that DIAG does not only bring an extensive global network and manufacturing expertise to the table, but also decades of management expertise. “The team around Dr Lesker has a proven track record in developing new markets and building global brands.

“Tapping into that wealth of knowledge will boost our operations and help us ring in a new age of preventative medicine and early detection.”

X-ZELL’s current Seed+ round commenced in mid-2018 and is expected to close at the end of 2019. It is aimed at bringing the company’s first tCEC-based cancer detection test – dubbed X-ZELL Prostate™ – to market in the ASEAN region and apply the underlying platform technology to additional cancer indications.

The company’s ultimate goal is to develop a general early cancer detection test suitable for population based screening.


Media Contact:
Sebastian Grote
Head of Strategy, Marketing & Communications
+65 9630 0706


About Deutsche Industrieanlagen GmbH (DIAG)
German industrial services provider, DIAG, can draw on decades of experience in the oil & gas, renewable energy, mining and infrastructure industries. Operating as a general contractor as well as in collaboration with joint venture partners, it investigates development opportunities, enables new partnerships and facilitates project collaborations around the globe. The eponymous DIAG Holding focuses on investment opportunities in future growth industries.

About X-ZELL
Recurrently ranked among the most innovative health technology start-ups in Asia, X-ZELL is fusing next-generation cell detection technology with cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence to isolate and visualise ultra-rare cells in blood and frozen tissue. Established in Bangkok, Thailand, the company recently 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. Now headquartered 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.

Next-generation cytology

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