HealthBanks Biotech and the Future of Cell Banking: An Interview with Dr. Chris Xu

by | Apr 1, 2024 | 177, Featured | 0 comments

“In the last 15 years, Dr. Chris Xu pioneered a world-class regenerative and cell banking consortium to help heal the world.”    Dr. Chris Xu's journey from immunologist and researcher...

“In the last 15 years, Dr. Chris Xu pioneered a world-class regenerative and cell banking consortium to help heal the world.” 


Dr. Chris Xu’s journey from immunologist and researcher to pioneering entrepreneur in the fields of regenerative medicine and cell banking is a testament to his vision and dedication to advancing healthcare. Beginning his career in academia, Dr. Xu contributed significantly to organ and stem cell transplantation research at Washington University School of Medicine. His transition into the pharmaceutical industry, where he played a crucial role in drug discovery and development at Pfizer, laid the groundwork for his later entrepreneurial endeavors.  

The establishment of his company, Boyalife, marked a significant shift in Dr. Xu’s career. Leveraging advanced automated technology licensed from ThermoGenesis, Boyalife became the first internationally accredited stem cell bank in China. This achievement underscored Dr. Xu’s ability to identify and capitalize on cutting-edge technologies to drive progress in the field. Boyalife’s rapid growth and success, culminating in a staggering $300 million valuation, exemplify Dr. Xu’s strategic vision and operational excellence.  

Dr. Xu’s acquisition of ThermoGenesis Holdings Inc. and, later, HealthBanks Biotech Inc. demonstrates his commitment to advancing the field of cellular medicine. By transforming HealthBanks into a leading cellular medicine company and relocating its headquarters to California, Dr. Xu has positioned the company at the forefront of the industry. The operation of four world-class facilities in the United States further solidifies HealthBanks USA’s standing as a pioneer in regenerative medicine and cell banking.  



 Dr. Xu’s journey reflects a relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence in healthcare. Through his leadership, Boyalife and HealthBanks USA have become key players in the global effort to harness the potential of cellular medicine to heal the world. His work not only represents a significant contribution to the field but also offers hope for the development of new treatments and therapies that could transform patient care in the coming years.  

HealthBanks Biotech Group, under the leadership of Dr. Chris Xu, has positioned itself as a trailblazer in the field of cellular medicine through its vertical integration and diversified business model.  

The company’s operations span four key areas: automated technologies, cell banking, cell manufacturing, and cell therapies. This comprehensive approach allows HealthBanks to control the entire process, from cell collection to the development of cell-based therapies, ensuring high standards of quality and innovation. A standout aspect of HealthBanks’ technology portfolio is its ThermoGenesis subsidiary, which is pivotal in automating cell processing.  

ThermoGenesis has revolutionized the cord blood banking industry with its technology, supporting 500 cord blood banks globally. This achievement is significant given that about 90% of all FDA-approved clinical-grade cord blood stem cell units used for transplantation are stored using ThermoGenesis ’ BioArchive smart cryostorage system. This system is renowned for its precision, reliability, and contribution to advancing stem cell transplantation therapies.  

The adoption of ThermoGenesis technology by leading industry institutions, including the New York Cord Blood Bank, MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinics, Duke, and CBR, underscores its impact and value. Furthermore, the technology’s global reach, extending to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and over 130 institutions in nearly 40 countries, highlights its worldwide acceptance and the trust placed in it by the medical community.   

HealthBanks Biotech Group’s success reflects not only its technological innovation but also its commitment to improving patient care through advanced cell therapies. By leveraging automated technologies in cell banking and manufacturing technologies, the company is at the forefront of developing treatments that could potentially revolutionize healthcare.

The dedication to excellence and innovation, as demonstrated by Dr. Chris Xu and his team, positions HealthBanks as a key player in the ongoing evolution of regenerative medicine and cell therapy, promising new hope for patients around the world. 

Dr. Chris Xu and HealthBanks Biotech Group have indeed been at the forefront of innovation in the cell banking industry, pioneering technologies that have significantly contributed to the advancement of cellular medicine.  

Their development of automated platforms like AXP and BioArchive has revolutionized cord blood banking by enhancing efficiency and reliability in stem cell processing and storage. Furthermore, HealthBanks’ introduction of cord tissue, placenta banking, and, notably, the first automated immune cell banking technology has broadened the scope and potential of cell banking services, offering new avenues for therapeutic applications.  





Introducing Immune Cell Banking  

 HealthBanks is the only approved immune cell bank in the United States and the Western Hemisphere.  

Immune cell banking represents a significant shift in the cell banking industry, focusing on the collection and storage of immune cells from adults rather than cord blood and tissues from newborns.  

This innovation is particularly crucial in the context of the rapid developments in cell and gene therapies, where stored immune cells can be utilized for advanced cancer treatments like CAR-T therapy. The concept of using a patient’s immune cells to create highly personalized and effective treatments marks a new era in cancer therapy, offering hope to patients with conditions that were previously deemed intractable.  



FDA-Approved CAR-T Therapy  

The FDA’s approval of CAR-T therapy in 2017 as a treatment for several types of blood cancers underscores the transformative potential of these advances. By modifying a patient’s immune cells to target and fight cancer, CAR-T therapy has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in clinical trials, achieving a 93% efficacy rate. The stories of patients experiencing remission after failing conventional treatments highlight the profound impact of CAR-T therapy and the importance of immune cell banking as a foundational technology that enables these life-saving treatments.  

 The miraculous recoveries of patients treated with CAR-T therapy emphasize the critical need for accessible immune cell banking. This technology facilitates the development of CAR-T and similar therapies and underscores the necessity of preserving immune cells as a resource for potentially life-altering treatments.  

Since HealthBanks has the only approved immune cell banking in the United States and the Western Hemisphere, it stands as a pivotal player in making these advanced cancer therapies available to patients in need, reinforcing the vital role of innovative cell banking technologies in shaping the future of medicine. 

Dr. Chris Xu’s vision for HealthBanks Biotech Group goes beyond pioneering advanced cell banking technologies; it extends to making transformative cell and gene therapies accessible and affordable for all patients. The realization that the high cost of cellular medicine could be a barrier to treatment for many underscores the need for innovation in therapy development and manufacturing.  

The introduction of the CARTXpress platform represents a significant leap towards achieving this goal. By quadrupling the efficiency of drug manufacturing, HealthBanks has been able to cut the costs of cellular medicines by half. This reduction is a critical step in making these treatments more accessible to a broader population, addressing the pressing issue of affordability in healthcare.  


Robust Pipeline of Cellular Therapies  



Dr. Xu’s commitment to further reduce these costs reflects a deep understanding of the economic challenges in the healthcare system and a dedication to patient-centric care. HealthBanks’ efforts to develop a robust pipeline of cellular therapies for a range of diseases, from diabetes to aging, further demonstrate the company’s comprehensive approach to improving healthcare. The successful anti-aging clinical trial for Cockayne Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, and the anticipation of moving this cellular drug candidate to orphan drug clinical trials highlight HealthBanks’ commitment to addressing significant unmet medical needs.   





Stem Cell Banking’s Increasing Impact on the Future of Cellular Medicine  

The evolution of stem cell banking from a novel concept to a foundational component of cellular medicine underscores its profound impact on healthcare.  

The establishment of the first cord blood bank in New York in 1992 marked the beginning of a new era in medical treatments and therapies. This practice has transformed once-discarded tissues at birth into invaluable sources of stem cells, catalyzing advancements in a wide range of therapeutic areas.  

Stem cell banking’s significance is further highlighted by the growing list of FDA-approved treatments that utilize stem cells derived from cord blood. These treatments now address over 80 different diseases, covering a spectrum from cancer to metabolic diseases, showcasing the versatility and potential of stem cells in medical therapies.   

The first FDA-approved cord blood prescription, HemaCord®, exemplifies the critical role of stem cell banking in modern medicine. Developed by the National Cord Blood Program at the New York Blood Center, HemaCord’s success is partly attributed to the technological support from HealthBanks’ subsidiary, ThermoGenesis. The AXP and BioArchive systems—both powered by patented technologies from ThermoGenesis —have been instrumental in processing and storing cord blood units, contributing to the successful transplantation of 6,000 units over the past decade.  

Dr. Chris Xu’s remarks about HealthBanks and its subsidiaries’ achievements underscore the synergy between technological innovation and medical advancements. By providing the technological backbone for stem cell banking and processing, companies like HealthBanks and ThermoGenesis are not just supporting existing treatments but also paving the way for the development of new therapeutics. Their work represents a critical junction of technology and medicine, where ongoing research and development promise to unlock even more uses for stem cells, potentially transforming patient care in unprecedented ways. 



A Game Changer Approach  

Dr. Chris Xu’s vision for HealthBanks Biotech Group, underlined by the commitment to making cellular therapies accessible to all, represents a paradigm shift in healthcare. His focus on democratizing access to these advanced treatments reflects a deep understanding of the challenges faced by patients worldwide, especially concerning the affordability and accessibility of cutting-edge medical care.  

This approach is not merely about advancing medical science; it’s about reshaping the healthcare landscape to be more inclusive and equitable. The innovative subscription business model for immune cell banking introduced by HealthBanks is a testament to this vision.  

By making immune cell banking more affordable and accessible, HealthBanks is pioneering a preventive healthcare measure that doubles as a form of “Critical Sickness Insurance.” This model not only democratizes access to potentially life-saving cellular therapies but also offers peace of mind to individuals, knowing that they have taken a proactive step in managing their future health needs.  

Such initiatives align perfectly with the growing demand for cellular therapies, which are becoming increasingly recognized for their potential to treat a wide range of conditions. By addressing the twin challenges of availability and affordability, HealthBanks is not just catering to the current market but is also anticipating the future needs of healthcare, positioning itself as a leader in the field of cellular medicine. Dr. Xu’s dual focus on ensuring the availability of necessary cells and making therapies affordable is critical in this regard. The subscription model and efforts to reduce drug manufacturing costs through technological innovations like the CARTXpress platform demonstrate a commitment to breaking down barriers to access.  

This approach ensures that HealthBanks’ advancements in cellular medicine are not reserved for the wealthy but are available to a broad spectrum of patients, embodying the true spirit of innovation in healthcare.  

As HealthBanks continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in cellular medicine, its efforts to make these treatments more accessible are likely to profoundly impact patients around the globe. Dr. Xu’s mission and the strategies employed by HealthBanks could indeed serve as a model for the future of healthcare, where advanced treatments are not a luxury but a standard component of medical care accessible to everyone, irrespective of their financial situation. 



Innovative Subscription Model Makes Immune Cell Banking Instantly Affordable. 

The introduction of a new subscription business model for immune cell banking is an unconventional new business model aimed at making the banking of immune cells more accessible. By offering this service at a cost as low as $29.99 per month for individual subscribers and even lower rates for corporate clients as part of employee healthcare benefits, HealthBanks is setting a new standard for preventive healthcare measures. This model not only makes immune cell banking more affordable but also encourages a proactive approach to personal healthcare management, enabling individuals to store their immune cells for future therapeutic use.  

The commitment to reducing drug manufacturing costs is equally significant. By continuously developing new technologies to enhance manufacturing efficiency, HealthBanks aims to keep the prices of cellular medicines low. This focus on innovation in manufacturing processes is crucial for the sustainability and scalability of cellular therapies, ensuring that these advanced treatments are not just effective but also economically accessible to a broader population.   

Dr. Xu’s emphasis on HealthBanks as an industry leader and innovator highlights the company’s role in shaping the future of cellular medicine. By addressing the critical barriers of availability and affordability, HealthBanks is paving the way for a future where advanced cellular therapies are a realistic option for everyone, not just a privileged few.  

This vision not only showcases the potential of cellular therapies to revolutionize healthcare but also reflects a commitment to social equity and the well-being of communities worldwide. 





Looking Ahead… The Future of Cell Banking Industry 

 With its 30-year history and substantial annual global revenue, the cell banking industry stands at a critical juncture.  

Despite its success and growth, challenges such as industry fragmentation, limited access to capital, and the need for technological innovation remain. The predominance of privately owned cord blood banks, each with relatively modest revenues, highlights the need for a new approach to sustain and enhance growth.  

Dr. Chris Xu and HealthBanks are spearheading an ambitious initiative to address these challenges head-on. By building a global alliance and network of banks worldwide, HealthBanks aims to foster collaboration, share advanced technologies, and create a unified, competitive front in the cell banking industry.  

This vision of transforming traditional cord blood banks into comprehensive cell banking and cell drug manufacturing centers is not only innovative but also strategic. It leverages cord blood banks’ existing infrastructure and expertise while introducing new revenue streams and business models that can significantly impact their growth and sustainability.  

The concept of advancing banks from focusing solely on cord blood to including immune cell banking and cell drug manufacturing represents a shift towards a more integrated approach to cell banking. This transition is crucial for meeting the evolving needs of the healthcare sector, particularly in the field of cellular therapies, which demands a robust and versatile cell banking infrastructure.  

Dr. Xu’s belief in the potential for prosperity across the cell banking industry through collaboration reflects a visionary approach to solving complex industry challenges. By creating what could be the world’s largest cell banking and cell manufacturing network, HealthBanks aims not only to revolutionize the cell banking industry but also to impact the broader field of cellular medicine significantly. This endeavor promises to enhance access to cutting-edge therapies, drive down costs, and ultimately improve patient outcomes on a global scale.  



Integrating Blockchain & AI Technologies

The Bricopia Project, as envisioned by Dr. Xu, is a testament to the power of innovation, collaboration, and strategic vision in transforming the landscape of healthcare and making advanced treatments more accessible to all. 

The vision behind the Bricopia Project, as articulated by Dr. Chris Xu, is a testament to the innovative strides being made in the intersection of technology and healthcare.  

By founding the International Consortium of Stem Cell Research, operating under the name Bio-Registry, Dr. Xu has set the stage for a collaborative effort aimed at promoting stem cell research and technological development.  

This initiative is not just about advancing the science but also ensuring that the benefits of stem cell research are accessible to all patients, reflecting a commitment to democratizing healthcare advancements.   

Bricopia, as a project under the Bio-Registry umbrella, represents a pioneering approach to integrating blockchain and AI technologies within the cell banking and healthcare sectors. The application of blockchain technology, known for its security, transparency, and traceability, to cell banking is revolutionary. It addresses a critical need for enhanced quality control and security in managing and tracking cellular medicines from their point of origin to their application in patient care.  

This innovation ensures that stem cells, which Dr. Xu aptly describes as people’s intrinsic health assets, are managed with the highest standards of integrity and accountability. Bricopia’s significance extends beyond its technical merits.  

By leveraging blockchain technology, the project aims to empower individuals with health freedom and peace of mind, knowing that their biological assets are safeguarded and their therapeutic journey is transparent and secure. Dr. Xu’s vision of Bricopia being the first blockchain application in the cell banking and healthcare industry is indicative of a broader trend toward the adoption of cutting-edge technologies to solve longstanding challenges in healthcare.  

Integrating AI and blockchain in cell banking could revolutionize how we approach healthcare, making treatments more personalized, secure, and accessible.  

Bricopia’s initiative could set a new standard for how biological assets are handled across the industry, fostering a more interconnected and transparent healthcare ecosystem. As this project progresses, it could potentially pave the way for broader applications of blockchain and AI in various aspects of healthcare, underlining the transformative power of technology in enhancing patient care and medical research. 





“I have been in the cell banking and cell therapy industry for over 25 years. The future is yet to come and is getting increasingly brighter.”

-Ms. Zhu

Michelle Haihong Zhu serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer of HealthBanks Group, where she plays a pivotal role in steering the company towards innovation and excellence in the cell banking and cell therapy industry. With over 25 years of experience under her belt, Michelle has established herself as a luminary in the field, contributing significantly to advancements in cell preservation and therapeutic applications. 

Her leadership extends beyond operational oversight; as a Board Director, she actively shapes strategic directions and fosters collaborations that drive the sector forward. Michelle’s profound understanding of the complexities of cell banking, coupled with her commitment to enhancing healthcare outcomes, underscores her invaluable contribution to HealthBanks Group and the broader scientific community. 

Her work reflects a deep passion for science and healthcare and a forward-looking vision that aims to leverage cell therapy’s potential to revolutionize treatment paradigms and improve patient care.

Expanding on Michelle Haihong Zhu’s insightful quote, we delve into her deep-seated belief in the boundless potential of cell banking and cell therapy, honed through over a quarter-century of dedicated experience. “I have been in cell banking and cell therapy for over 25 years.” This reflects not just her journey but also the evolution of a field that stands at the cusp of a medical revolution. Her tenure in the industry has witnessed significant milestones—from the early stages of stem cell research to the latest advancements in personalized medicine and regenerative therapies.

When she says, “The future is exciting and the best is yet to come,” Michelle encapsulates a vision of optimism and progress. This perspective is built on the rapid technological advancements and the increasing success rates of cell therapies in treating previously intractable diseases. Her confidence in the future speaks to the emerging innovations in genetic engineering, automation in cell processing, and the expansion of applications for cell therapies in combating a broad spectrum of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune diseases, and degenerative disorders.Her statement underscores a commitment to continual learning, innovation, and the belief that the most transformative discoveries in cell banking and therapy lie ahead. 

Michelle’s forward-looking stance not only inspires her team at HealthBanks Group but also resonates with the broader scientific community, encouraging a collaborative effort towards unlocking the full potential of cell-based therapies. It’s a call to arms for researchers, practitioners, and industry leaders to push the boundaries of what’s possible, ensuring that the best outcomes for patients and the advancement of healthcare are indeed yet to come.





From Luxury Hospitality to Regenerative Wellness Industry  

Robert (Bob’B) Pang’s career trajectory is a compelling narrative of versatility, foresight, and a relentless quest for excellence. Initially making his mark in the luxury hospitality industry, Bob’B’s transition into the cutting-edge realm of regenerative health and wellness with HealthBanks Group is a testament to his dynamic adaptability and visionary leadership. In the world of luxury hospitality, Bob’B honed skills that are crucial to his success in the health and wellness sector: an unwavering commitment to service excellence, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to anticipate and fulfill the needs of a discerning clientele. These qualities, combined with strategic foresight and operational acumen, positioned him as an ideal candidate for HealthBanks Group, a company at the forefront of leveraging cellular therapies for improved health outcomes.

Bob’B’s recent appointment to HealthBanks Group’s high-profile Board of Directors underscores the value of his unique perspective and expertise. In this role, he is expected to bring fresh insights into customer experience, service delivery, and strategic growth, directly influencing the company’s trajectory in the rapidly evolving field of regenerative health and wellness.

Moreover, as the Senior Vice President in Corporate Strategy, Bob’B faces a challenging yet exhilarating role. Here, he is tasked with steering the company through complex market dynamics, identifying growth opportunities, and developing strategies that ensure HealthBanks Group remains at the leading edge of innovation in cell banking and therapy. This role not only capitalizes on his strategic prowess but also on his ability to navigate change, inspiring his team to embrace new directions and opportunities.Bob’B’s journey from luxury hospitality to a pioneering position in regenerative health highlights the transferability of leadership skills across sectors and the importance of vision in driving change. 

His role in HealthBanks Group signifies a promising new chapter, both for him and for the company, as they work together to unlock the potential of regenerative health solutions for a global audience. 


HealthBanks Management Team


His career, which began with a key role in establishing the Shangri-La Hotels chain and senior management roles with the Westin Hotels chain, demonstrates his strategic planning and project management capability. His work under Robert Kuok’s mentorship not only laid the groundwork for his future successes but also instilled in him a profound understanding of business development and operations. Bob Pang’s venture into the healthcare and wellness sector, particularly his focus on stem cells, cell therapies, and regenerative wellness, signifies a pivotal shift towards a domain with profound impact potential on public health and longevity.  

His collaboration with Dr. Chris Xu in Asia-Pacific underscores a strategic move towards harnessing cutting-edge technologies in cell banking and healthcare to address current challenges and future demands.  

The establishment of HealthBanks and Bricopia in Singapore, which is recognized for its competitive economy and openness to innovation, positions the company at the heart of Asia’s booming health and wellness sector. Bob’s experience in Asia and the United States equips him with a unique perspective on global markets, enabling him to drive HealthBanks’ mission to expand its technological, product, and service awareness in the Asia-Pacific region.  

The participation in and partnership with Ageing Asia Alliance, along with the sponsorship for Ageing Asia Festival 2024, mark significant milestones in HealthBanks and Bricopia’s efforts to influence the future of health and longevity. These platforms offer unique opportunities for showcasing advancements in cell banking and regenerative health technologies to a wide audience of healthcare professionals and industry stakeholders.  

Bob Pang’s excitement about Dr. Chris Xu’s mission to develop the first blockchain application in cell banking and healthcare is particularly noteworthy. This initiative illustrates the innovative approach to solving industry challenges and highlights the potential for blockchain technology to revolutionize the security, efficiency, and transparency of cell banking processes.  

Lastly, the vision to build the world’s largest cell banking, cell manufacturing, and cell therapy network reflects an ambitious and forward-thinking strategy. With significant investment in research and development, the goal to make cell therapy drugs affordable and accessible to all patients who need them is both noble and crucial for the advancement of healthcare treatments.  

Bob Pang’s journey from luxury hospitality to regenerative health and wellness showcases a remarkable career evolution driven by a passion for innovation and a commitment to making a significant impact on the future of  

Bob Pang’s closing statement encapsulates his unwavering belief in Dr. Chris Xu’s mission, reflecting a shared vision for revolutionizing the cell banking, manufacturing, and therapy industry on a global scale. This belief is not just a testament to HealthBanks and Bricopia’s potential under their leadership but also highlights the ambitious goal of creating a worldwide network and consortium that serves not only business partners and affiliates but also customers across the globe.   

The emphasis on building the most extensive network and consortium underscores a commitment to innovation, accessibility, and collaboration. It suggests that success in this field requires advanced technologies, substantial investment in research and development, a strong network of partners, and an unwavering focus on customer needs.  


HealthBanks Board of Directors


This approach aligns with the broader goals of the healthcare industry to make cutting-edge treatments more accessible and affordable, thereby enhancing the quality of life and longevity for people worldwide. Bob Pang’s support for Dr. Xu’s mission also reflects confidence in the strategic direction of HealthBanks and Bricopia and its role in shaping the future of healthcare. It acknowledges the significance of pioneering efforts in cell banking, therapy, and manufacturing, recognizing their potential to address some of the most pressing challenges in medicine today. 

This shared vision between Bob Pang and Dr. Chris Xu, rooted in innovation, collaboration, and customer focus, sets a foundation for HealthBanks and Bricopia to lead in transforming healthcare through regenerative medicine. It’s a vision that not only looks forward to achieving remarkable scientific advancements but also to making these advancements accessible to people around the world, demonstrating a profound commitment to improving human health and wellness. 

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Riley George

Riley George