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


Startup Receives US$150K Grand Prize for development of an accurate, affordable, and globally scalable early cancer detection from small, 10mL blood samples.

 LOS ANGELES and SINGAPORE November 18, 2020 MedTech Innovator, the largest accelerator of medical devices in the world, in partnership with Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association (APACMed), the first and only regional association to provide a unified voice for the medical technology industry, 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 in partnership with APACMed.

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 honored 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 medtech 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. Cartosense, Healthy Networks, Remidio, 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-caliber of innovation we’ve seen in our 2020 Asia Pacific cohort,” said Paul Grand, CEO of MedTech Innovator.” I am honored 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 startups 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 startup ecosystem. Additionally, they will be fast-tracked to ESG’s SLINGSHOT global startup 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.

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; 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 startups. 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 endeavor to identify and support up-and-coming healthcare innovations. Singapore has invested significantly to build our biomedical ecosystem and we welcome global startups to join us.”

MedTech Innovator works closely with stakeholders across the industry to foster the growth of early to mid-stage startups. 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.

“We are delighted to be partnering with MedTech Innovator for the second year,” said Harjit Gill, CEO of APACMed. “The number of startups going through the program continues to grow and this is essential to drive innovation in the region.”

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About MedTech Innovator

Based in Los Angeles, Calif., MedTech Innovator is the largest accelerator of medical device companies in the world and the premier nonprofit startup accelerator in the medical technology industry.[i] 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 medtech companies for mentorship and support.

For more information about MedTech Innovator, visit and follow @MedTechAwards on Twitter. To receive industry insights and highlights about MedTech Innovator’s current and alumni participant companies, subscribe to its monthly newsletter.

Media Contact:

Lara Lingenbrink

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