Female Founder Feature – Linda S. Barnes, X-CellSystem, Inc.


Linda S. Barnes is the Founder & CEO of X-CellSystem, Inc.

Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?

I am inspired by the promising market of innovative cell-based therapies. This emerging class of drugs uses living human cells to treat diseases, such as cancer, Sickle Cell, hemophilia, and thalassemia. There are hundreds of clinical trials in the pipeline, yet the complicated logistics and rigorous quality requirements needed for carefully handling fragile cells make these treatments very expensive and difficult to expand to patients who need them. I saw the opportunity to create an on-line marketplace and technology platform to facilitate entry for this market and accelerate commercial access. X-CellSystem provides the most comprehensive and cost-effective solution for cell-based therapies through a full-service, on-line marketplace that is faster, simpler and less costly while improving compliance.

Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?

Vivian dela Rosa and I worked together for 7 years before starting this venture. We both appreciate excellence, achievement, and continuous learning, despite being opposite in almost every other way. Vivian and I dare to take on bold aspirations and deliver by complementing each others’ strengths and weaknesses. We are proud to be a women-led venture that has the promise of touching many lives.

How is your company making a difference?

X-CellSystem accelerates therapies to enhance lives. Cell-based therapies are considered the fourth pillar of modern medicine yet the infrastructure to deliver these promising treatments is lacking. We democratize access to human cells and provide systems facilitating processes that improve quality and cost-effectiveness for patients around the world. 

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Through a remarkable turn of fate, my co-Founder and I found ourselves simultaneously unemployed. This gave rise to us asking, “what would we attempt to do if we knew we could not fail?” We had both marveled at start-ups and innovative business enterprise, thus we dedicated ourselves to becoming entrepreneurs. Working in an emerging and fragmented market has its challenges. There is no blueprint or pattern to follow. We have learned from how other industries have addressed similar problems and attempted to translate ideas into this new field. Time is of the essence and we plan as we go, responding to challenges as they come.

What is your biggest win?

We have a great team of capable leaders who have crafted our product offerings based on industry insights, customer input, and user-led design. I am so thankful for their contributions and their belief in our value proposition. Since I have bootstrapped XCellSystem, it is the promise of future returns that keeps us all motivated. In addition to my immediate team, I am also thankful for our expert advisors in the fields of technology, cell-based therapies, and business development. They have been generous with their time and insights into the industry. This has yielded important partnerships and the creation of a strategic ecosystem within this emerging market.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

Every small step represents a giant leap of progress or a tremendous set-back. I wish that I had known how all-consuming this venture would become! Each phone call is a possibility, every delay is a lifetime. I learn something new every day, digging deep into my resiliency, grit, and fortitude. That is why I appreciate the alliance of like-minded women in FFA.