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Xcell Biosciences Announces New Scientific and Business Advisory Board

Advisors will support the company’s ongoing expansion of its technology for cell and gene therapy applications


March 27, 2024


Xcell Biosciences Inc. (Xcellbio), an instrumentation company focused on cell and gene therapy applications, today announced the formation of a new scientific and business advisory board composed of some of the leading minds in the industry. The board will provide valuable expertise to help the company achieve its goals in the therapeutics market.

“We look forward to working closely with the advisory board to advance the development of our next-generation manufacturing platform for cell and gene therapies based on our successful AVATAR technology, which employs a metabolic conditioning approach to improve the potency and persistence of cell therapies.”

“Xcellbio has assembled a team of respected industry and academic giants who bring unique expertise and valuable perspectives on the cell and gene therapy market that will be instrumental for helping to grow our business,” said Brian Feth, co-founder and CEO at Xcellbio. “We look forward to working closely with the advisory board to advance the development of our next-generation manufacturing platform for cell and gene therapies based on our successful AVATAR technology, which employs a metabolic conditioning approach to improve the potency and persistence of cell therapies.”

The new advisors include:


Jak Knowles, MDPresident and CEO, Affini-TJak has more than two decades of venture capital, R&D, management, and entrepreneurial experience in the life science industry. Jak co-founded and currently serves as CEO of Affini-T Therapeutics, a leading precision immunotherapy company targeting oncogene driver mutations such as KRAS with TCR-T cell and bispecific T cell engager therapies. Prior to Affini-T, Jak was head of health venture investments for Leaps by Bayer, a leading corporate venture fund. He previously co-founded Metagenomi, where he served as CBO, and Exonics Therapeutics, two next-gen gene editing companies. Jak also served as CEO of CytoSen Therapeutics, where he developed natural killer immune cell therapies for oncology indications.


Eileen Higham, PhDCTO, venture-backed T cell therapy companyEileen has more than two decades of experience using strategic, scientific, and technical expertise to help organizations develop innovative ways to rapidly deliver novel cell, viral, and protein therapies to improve human health. She previously worked with top cell and gene therapy companies such as Sana Biotechnology, Juno Therapeutics, and Intergalactic Therapeutics.


Michael Paglia, MScCTO, ElevateBio, BaseCamp®Mike has spent two decades in biotechnology building and motivating process development and manufacturing teams, including having led the early process development and manufacturing of four approved autologous cell therapies. At ElevateBio, LLC, he established the BaseCamp process development and manufacturing capability for genomic medicines as COO and now leads the advancement of innovative process technologies for academic and industry partners as CTO.


Tom WhiteheadPresident and Co-founder, Emily Whitehead FoundationTom is the father of Emily, the first pediatric patient in the world to receive CAR T cell therapy and who is almost 12 years cancer free. Tom and his wife Kari co-founded EWF to fund innovative childhood cancer treatments that are more targeted and less toxic. He is an author and frequent keynote speaker on the advantages of cell and gene-based therapies.


Bill Colston, PhDFormer CEO, Sestina BioBill is a biotech innovator and investor with over 30 years of experience in developing cutting-edge technologies. He is the scientific founder and CEO of QuantaLife, where he spearheaded the development of the droplet digital PCR system, acquired by Bio-Rad in 2012. A serial entrepreneur, Bill has since founded and led companies in therapeutics (Rubryk), diagnostics (HealthTell) and synthetic biology (Sestina). He has served on several private and public boards and remains active as an advisor and Executive in Residence at the University of California, San Francisco.


Peter Hirth, PhDChairman, IO BiotechPeter was the founder of drug discovery company Plexxikon, Inc., and served as its chief executive officer for more than a decade. He was previously the founder and president at Sugen, Inc., and led Boehringer Mannheim’s research group in immuno-pharmacology. Under his leadership, new drugs were approved in each of these organizations. In addition to IO Biotech, he currently serves on the public company boards of Aligos Therapeutics and Vaxcyte, Inc., as well as on the boards of private companies Trex Bio and Entrenome.


Charles J. Ryan, MDFormer CEO, Prostate Cancer FoundationCharles (Chuck) is an internationally recognized genitourinary oncologist with expertise in the biology and treatment of advanced disease as well as supportive care of men with prostate cancer. Prior to joining the foundation, he was director of the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Division at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In his previous role as professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Chuck was one of Xcellbio’s earliest collaborators and played a major role in the company’s success.


About Xcell Biosciences

Xcellbio is driven by its mission to enhance the performance and safety of cell and gene-based therapies through the design and development of revolutionary technology platforms. The company’s commercial instruments and AI-driven software allow researchers to discover novel insights into immune and tumor biology and enable the translation of these insights at patient scale through the development of its pioneering cGMP cell therapy manufacturing platform. Based in San Francisco, Xcellbio can also be found online at www.xcellbio.com.

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