Press Releases


SAN FRANCISCO and HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Aug. 8, 2018 — XcellBio, a proprietary provider of primary cell control technologies for immunotherapeutic solutions today announced a collaboration with Carolina BioOncology Institute (CBI) to further pre-clinical development of true personalized medicine therapies. CBI will utilize XcellBio’s products to expand and profile patient derived tumor and immune cells through the use of the AVATAR™ systems in CBI’s pre-clinical development and validation programs.  The novel technology and research program mimics the immune and tumor microenvironments providing fine control over both the quantity and quality of cells produced to develop the highest level cell therapies.

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(San Francisco, CA) Xcell Biosciences, an innovator in primary cell technologies for patient-centric research and immunotherapy development, announces the expansion of our global sales network to support growing sales in Europe, Middle East and Asia.  These global companies are leaders in their markets and have added the AVATAR™ Cell Control System to strengthen their product offering in the growing markets of stem cells, solid tumor cells, and immune cells for a range of immunotherapy applications.

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SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Xcell Biosciences announced today that it has expanded its development and commercial efforts around new market opportunities in immunotherapy drug research and development. The ever-growing Immuno-Oncology landscape and demonstrated success of new immunotherapy treatments has led to a large demand for tools and systems to expand and control primary tumor and immune cells for both research and clinical applications. Mature and stem cell-derived primary cells are also needed for assessing off-target effects for immunotherapy development. Xcell will use its expertise in expanding and modulating phenotypes of primary tumor, stem cell, and immune populations to deliver a new set of applications tailored to the immunotherapy and cell therapy drug development and production markets.

Read the full release on Business Wire


SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Xcell Biosciences announced today the company has closed a $12 million Series A private equity financing round. The financing was led by HBM Genomics along with the continued participation of all major existing investors. Xcell Bio will use the funds to launch its commercial platform worldwide, including expanding its US sales force and worldwide commercial reach. Saeid Akhtari, Managing Director of HBM Genomics, will join the Xcell Biosciences Board of Directors.

Read the full release on Business Wire


San Francisco – October 4, 2016 – Xcell Biosciences, Inc., today announced it has signed agreements with two international distributors and made a number of international sales for its Avatar™ system.

Cambridge Bioscience is now the exclusive United Kingdom distributor, with multiple system sales to date to Cancer Research UK, where the Avatar system will be used by the Carlos Caldas lab in their functional genomics studies of breast cancer.

In Japan, BioStream has been selected as a distributor for the full line of Xcell products. Several system sales have already been booked for Kyushu University, where the Avatar system will be used by Koichi Akashi’s lab, which specializes in studying immunology, hematology and cancer stem cells.

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San Francisco – September 22, 2016 – Xcell Biosciences Initiates New Collaborations with UCSF Researchers Studying Effectiveness of Immunotherapy in Urologic Cancers.

Studies Assess the Ability to Predict Prognosis and Response to Therapies by Immunoprofiling of Patients’ Blood, Cultured and Conditioned with Xcell’s Unique Avatar System

Xcell Biosciences, Inc., announced today that it has extended its collaborative work with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to include working with three principal investigators on pilot studies using Xcell’s Avatar cell culture system and proprietary analytics platform. The work will determine if large scale RNA profiling from peripheral blood and other patient-derived sample sources cultured in the Avatar System and correlated to clinical outcomes can predict a patient’s response to first or second line treatments in prostate, bladder and kidney cancers.

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Newport Beach, Calif — Red Herring today announced its Top 100 North America award winners in recognition of the leading private companies from the region, celebrating these startups’ innovations and technologies across their respective industries.

Red Herring Top 100 America enlists outstanding entrepreneurs and promising companies. It selects the award winners from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these up-and-comers. Red Herring editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.

“In 2016, selecting the top achievers was extremely difficult,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “The variety, depth, disruption and traction we saw from the early stage companies to those with significant scale made it one of the toughest vintages to judge. The North America winners are representative of the amazing ecosystem that never ceases to astound, with new and experienced entrepreneurs continuing to push the barriers of innovation. As one of the winners, Xcell Biosciences should be proud of its accomplishment under such strong competition.”

Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technological innovation and intellectual property, DNA of the founders, business model, customer footprint and market penetration. This assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the track record and standing of startups relative to their sector peers, allowing Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models in North America.

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Press Release Summary:
Xcell Biosciences will co-present “Creating a Tunable Stem Cell: Modulation of Oxygen and Atmospheric Pressure During Culture Alters Signaling Pathways Governing Stem Cell Maintenance and Differentiation” at the upcoming International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) annual meeting alongside Illumina, Inc. about its Avatar cell incubation system.

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Xcell Biosciences to Introduce Next Generation System for Cell-based Assays at the 2016 Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Xcell Biosciences, Inc., announced today that the company will unveil its Avatar system, a revolutionary new platform for culturing and propagating tumor samples, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from liquid biopsies, stem cells and primary samples, at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference taking place March 6-11 in San Francisco.

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Press and Media


March 15, 2017 | Illumina News Center

Last month, Xcell Biosciences announced closing its $12 million Series A financing. The company will use the funds to launch its commercial platform worldwide, including expanding its U.S. sales force and worldwide commercial reach. Illumina News Center caught up with co-founder and CEO Brian Feth to discuss life after Illumina Accelerator and what’s next for the thriving company.

Read the full interview here

March 10, 2017 | Science Magazine | Vol. 355, Issue 6329, pp. 1085

The Avatar System was featured under “New Products” in Science Magazine.

Read the full article in Science HERE


December 21st, 2016 | PM360 Staff

Xcellbio’s Avatar System is featured in PM360’s Innovations Issue.

PM360’s Innovations Issue, established five years ago, serves as a comprehensive guide to readers on the year’s most cutting-edge products.

Read more on how the Avatar System and other innovations on PM360: HERE

PDF Version

November 8, 2016 – Josh P. Roberts

“As people move from culturing hardy cell lines to culturing primary cells, stem cells and even 3D cultures, it’s increasingly important to be able to control O2-levels, as well, to better mimic hypoxia in an in vivo environment. Many vendors now offer CO2 incubators in which hypoxic environments are created by introducing nitrogen gas. Eppendorf, for example, offers two options: 0.1% to 19%, or 1% to 19%, O2 control.

There are also incubators that create hyperoxic conditions. “They’re less popular—a bit more of a niche application,” says Bates. “Sometimes people use them to study retinal cells or lung conditions or [to look] at reactive O2 species.”

Xcell Biosciences’ diminutive (3.7-liter) Avatar system takes atmospheric control one step further: “We’re able to mimic the range of pressure conditions found all the way from the circulation to the bone marrow to the fluids found within the brain,” notes chief scientific officer James Lim.”

Read the full article: PDF Version

October 18, 2016 | Personalized Medicine in Oncology

A New Approach to Cell Culturing
An Interview with James Lim, PhD, of Xcell Biosciences

The drug discovery process has long been characterized by very low success rates in moving compounds from early-stage studies to clinically proven therapeutics. A confounding factor in the process is the inability to conduct high-throughput screening in an environment that truly mirrors human physiology. These early-stage tests are typically performed on cell lines that have been maintained and expanded over many years under conditions that rarely reflect in vivo settings. The cell culture incubators housing cell lines cannot fully reproduce the native conditions of the cells, and even small environmental changes can significantly alter the cells’ gene and protein expression signatures that contribute to changes in drug sensitivity.

To address these issues, Xcell Biosciences created the Avatar system to help drug discovery researchers generate more physiologically relevant data to identify and advance the best candidates to clinical trials…

Read the full interview on Personal Medicine in Oncology

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“Imaging cytometers, high-content analysis workstations and microscopes fitted with environmental chambers all enable live imaging in a constant environment without perturbing the cells over time. Yet when leading up to and running long-term assays—even endpoint assays—giving the cells an environment that more closely mimics the in vivo environment may enable a more physiological assessment of how cells would, say, proliferate in the stem cell niche under the test conditions, points out James Lim, chief scientific officer at Xcell Biosciences. Xcell’s desktop-printer-sized Avatar™ System allows for precise control of both oxygen and pressure. “We’re able to mimic the range of pressure conditions found all the way from the circulation to the bone marrow to the fluid pressures found within the brain,” he says.”

Read more on some methods that are used to monitor and characterize cells : Cell Based Assays

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Sep 22, 2016 | a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Xcell Biosciences announced today that it has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco to conduct pilot studies evaluating the company’s Avatar cell culture system and analytics platform in the immunoprofiling of cancer patients.

Read full feature in GenomeWeb: HERE

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Congratulations to Xcell Biosciences for winning the 2016 Instrument Business Outlook (IBO) Silver Award for excellence in laboratory product design for the Avatar. Each year, IBO recognizes innovative and functional industrial design of analytical
instruments, laboratory equipment and portable instrumentation.

‘The winner of the 2016 Silver Design Award for lab equipment is Xcell Biosciences’ Avatar System for controlling the microenvironments of cells, including hydrostatic pressure, oxygen, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide. Consequently, it expands capabilities to culture samples. The novel design visually signals the system’s new approach to cell growth and maintenance. The Avatar System offers a fresh update of standard incubators, utilizing a playful circular door configuration, glossy black finish, and bold shapes and color contrasts. The circular door slides up, and large digital displays provide a prominent read out of environmental conditions. Designed by Juggernaut Design, the Avatar measures 13.5 x 13.1 x 12 in (34.3 x 33.3 x 30.5 cm) and weighs 63lb (28.6 kg). It has a chamber capacity of 3.7 L.

According to Martin Pieprzyk, executive vice president at Xcell, “The priorities for the design were ease of use [and a] small stackable design, which enabled users to place the instruments into labs with limited space and cell culture hoods. We also focused on user friendly setup and installation, as well as a clean and modern design.” ‘

Read more HERE

“Take a fish out of water and it will die, so the old adage goes. And if it doesn’t die immediately, then it will suffer acute metabolic and respiratory changes that completely distort its biology.”

Chemistry & Industry Magazine interviews Xcellbio co-founders Brian Feth and James Lim on the science and concept behind the Avatar platform as well as the founding of Xcell Biosciences.

Read the full article on SCI

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The Avatar system is featured in Science (05 Aug 2016: Vol. 353, Issue 6299, pp. 610) under their “New Product” section for “[providing] a new platform for culturing and propagating tumor samples, circulating tumor cells from liquid biopsies, stem cells, and primary samples. In addition to enabling the culturing of difficult samples such as tumor biopsies and primary samples, the system overcomes the limitations of traditional cell cultures to generate results that exhibit the phenotypic, genomic, and proteomic characteristics of the native sample.”

Read the full article on Science HERE

Delve into how advancement in cancer research starts on better cell culture practice in Cell Culture Advances Yield More Reliable Data for Cancer Research. Featured in American Laboratory and written by Xcellbio’s own CSO, James Lim, the article explores how “reliable, relevant data from cultured cells will lead to a better understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in cancer formation and metastasis and creative new approaches for treating patients.”

Read the full article on American Laboratory

Dr. James Lim of Xcell Biosciences and Dr. Fred Aswad of Bayer co-author an article in Drug Discovery World titled “EX VIVO versus IN VIVO – the challenge of generating meaningful results with traditional cell culture”.

This article discusses current attempts to make results from cell culture systems more biologically relevant which, in turn, could lead to an innovative era of transformation in how we use cells throughout the biomedical community.

Read the full article on Drug Discovery News
PDF version HERE

Scrips Intelligence writes an article on ” Bayer’s CoLaborator: A Startup Hub In San Francisco’s Biotech Cluster” on Bayer’s CoLaborator “developing relationships [and] nurturing partnerships” with biotech startup companies, such as Xcellbio “…has developed proprietary cell culture technology known as Avatar and a product called the Avatar Bioreactor, which is designed to screen drug compounds and diagnose diseases, among other research tasks; Bayer bought one of Xcell’s first Avatar machines…” Read more at HERE

Xcellbio today announced that it has named CambridgeBio as the exclusive UK distributor ( The two companies will work closely on commercializing the Avatar platform in the UK and will leverage each other expertise in cellular assays and molecular biology.

Mar 23, 2016 NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – XCell Biosciences Aims to Improve CTC Analysis, Biomarker Discovery With New Cell Culture Platform

XCell Biosciences, a four-year-old startup firm and graduate of Illumina’s business accelerator program, recently unveiled its novel platform for culturing and propagating a variety of cell types in an in vivo-like environment to yield more accurate
and relevant results from downstream molecular analyses

Read the full Genome Web article: HERE

Diagnostic World writes an article on “Xcell’s New Incubator Promises Lifelike Conditions for Tests on Primary Cells”.

March 14, 2016 | Last week, at the Molecular Medicine Tri Conference in San Francisco, Calif., Xcell Biosciences announced the commercial launch of the Avatar System, a cell incubator designed to mimic real-life microenvironments inside the human body. The platform takes aim at the problem of preserving primary tissue—cell samples collected directly from patients—for long enough to perform experimental or clinical tests, without distorting those cells’ physiology and genetic activity…

Read More at Diagnostic World HERE


Xcell establishes a research collaboration with Bayer Health on pancreatic cancer cell lines, primary focus of the study will be the development and improvement of Xcells technology for the isolation and culture of circulating tumor cells found in blood of patient with pancreatic cancer.
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