MedTech Innovator names X-ZELL as 2020 Asia Pacific Final Competition Winner

Los Angeles & Singapore, November 2020 (via Business Wire) – MedTech Innovator, the largest accelerator of medical devices in the world, in partnership with Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association (APACMed), today announced X-ZELL as the winner of its 2020 Asia Pacific Accelerator program.

The winning company was determined by a live virtual audience vote on November 18 during the MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific 2020 Grand Finals hosted by MedTech Innovator and APACMed, the first and only regional association to provide a unified voice for the medical technology industry.

Based in Singapore, X-ZELL is developing an accurate, affordable, and globally scalable early cancer detection from small, 10mL blood samples.

“Being part of the MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific Accelerator program has been a truly rewarding experience – not only because of the lessons we learned and the mentorship we received, but also because of the powerful network we were able to build,” said Dr Sebastian Bhakdi, Founder and CEO of X-ZELL.

“We feel honoured to be recognized as the 2020 Asia Pacific Grand Prize winner. The funding will help us tremendously in bringing our first liquid biopsy to market in Singapore by June next year – the first step in making accurate, affordable cancer screening available to everyone, anywhere in the world.”

Selected from a pool of nearly 170 early-stage med-tech companies, X-ZELL was awarded the US$150,000 non-dilutive grand prize to advance its business goals and mission to improve future health outcomes of patients in the Asia Pacific region. The company was also awarded a one-year membership to APACMed.

High calibre of innovation

CartosenseHealthy NetworksRemidio, and Sporogenics also participated in the organization’s Accelerator program and competed in the Grand Finals, each receiving a US$10,000 cash prize.

“This year has increased the urgency for new and effective health solutions around the world and I am extremely impressed by the high-calibre of innovation we’ve seen in our 2020 Asia Pacific cohort,” said Paul Grand, CEO of MedTech Innovator.

“I am honoured to recognize X-ZELL as this year’s Asia Pacific Grand Prize winner and I have no doubt that its technology will bring immense value to patients, health care providers, and the health care system as a whole.”

MedTech Innovator carefully selected best-in-class start-ups from across Asia Pacific for its 2020 program, providing the companies with exposure to industry leaders and awarding over US$300,000 in cash prizes and in-kind awards.

During its Final Competition, MedTech Innovator also announced the winners of several additional awards.

X-ZELL was also announced winner of Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) Startup SG award, comprising a SG$30,000 grant prize, and access to extensive resources and networks within Singapore’s start-up ecosystem.

Additionally, they will be fast-tracked to ESG’s SLINGSHOT global start-up competition happening at the Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH) in December, where they can pitch their solutions on a global stage and stand to win additional prizes.

Sporogenics, a company developing a biodegradable implantable device for postsurgical anti-adhesion and anti-carcinomatosis application, was awarded a one-year of residency at JLABS Shanghai, a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate more than 50 start-ups across the pharmaceuticals, medical device, consumer and health tech segments.

MAV, a company developing a catheter realizing durable valvuloplasty for aortic valve stenosis inserted via radial artery, received the Sterile Barrier System Design & Development Award from Oliver Healthcare Packaging, where they will receive exclusive technical and consultation services from Oliver Healthcare Packaging in the development of the sterile barrier system for their device. MAV participated in the MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific Accelerator program.

Global impact

Judges of the 2020 Asia Pacific final competition included Kiyoshi Miyake, Senior Expert, Technology Scouting and Collaboration, Office of CTO, Olympus; Peter Hawkes, Head of Business Development, Medical Devices Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson; Julie Tay, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Align Technology; Florian Belohlavek, Head of Strategy, Marketing and Sales, Asia Pacific, Siemens Healthineers; as well as Tomoko Ishikura, Business Development Advisor, Nipro Corporation.

“Congratulations to X-ZELL on this significant recognition – a testament to its unique approach in early cancer detection. We also look forward to welcoming Sporogenics to JLABS Shanghai,” said Peter Hawkes, Head of Business Development, Medical Devices Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson.

“At Johnson & Johnson we understand the importance of accelerating the growth of the most promising medical technology in the Asia Pacific region, spanning medical device, digital health, and diagnostic start-ups.

“We believe in a highly collaborative innovation process that connects us with MedTech entrepreneurs and helps us accelerate their innovation. We are proud to support the Asia Pacific Accelerator program, and we look forward to following the progress of not only X-ZELL but all the finalist companies’ technologies in the years ahead.”

“Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific Competition,” said Audrey Lok, Director of Healthcare and Biomedical, Enterprise Singapore.

“Enterprise Singapore is happy to partner MedTech Innovator in this endeavour to identify and support up-and-coming healthcare innovations. Singapore has invested significantly to build our biomedical ecosystem and we welcome global start-ups to join us.”

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


About MedTech Innovator
Based in Los Angeles, Calif., MedTech Innovator is the largest accelerator of medical device companies in the world and the premier non-profit start-up accelerator in the medical technology industry.1 Its mission is to improve the lives of patients by accelerating the growth of companies that are transforming the healthcare system. MedTech Innovator matches healthcare industry leaders with innovative early-stage and emerging growth med-tech companies for mentorship and support and works closely with stakeholders across the industry to foster the growth of early to mid-stage start-ups. MedTech Innovator’s 2020 Asia Pacific program sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies which has committed to a three-year sponsorship of the program, Align Technology, Nipro Medical Corporation, Oliver Healthcare Packaging, Olympus Medical Systems Group, Siemens Healthineers, and Enterprise Singapore. The MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific Program is held in partnership with APACMed.

About X-ZELL
X-ZELL’s vision is to save lives by identifying clinically significant cancers early, when there is still time to act and take charge of our health. X-ZELL first made headlines in 2017 when it found a way to routinely locate tumour-associated Circulating Endothelial Cells (tCEC) in a small, 10mL blood sample.  Known to be powerful biomarkers for the early detection of aggressive cancers, tCEC were long considered ‘undetectable’ in clinical routine. X-ZELL overcame the impasse by developing a platform technology that is capable of detecting a single tCEC among five billion healthy blood cells and analysing it using Artificial Intelligence – making for an affordable, non-invasive solution with maximum scalability. Less than a year after that breakthrough, X-ZELL was able to present the world’s first tCEC-based blood test for the early detection of clinically significant prostate cancer – X-ZELL™ Prostate. But one cancer is not enough. X-ZELL’s ambition is to make accurate, affordable tCEC screening available to everyone, everywhere – which is why additional tests for common cancers such as breast, ovarian, colon and lung have already gone into pre-development, with more to come. They all feed into the creation of an AI-driven general screening test that will be able to scrutinise our blood for atypical cells and analyse them on-screen – allowing physicians to manage our health proactively instead of just responding to a disease.  

1Gibbs, M., Johnson, B., Silva, B. A., & Berube, K. (2020, July 10). Q2 2020 Life Science Accelerators Insights Cipher Bio. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from 


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