Slovenian company in the field of life sciences has been providing solutions in form of bioreactors, accessories and single-use equipment for laboratories and other companies from biotech and pharmacy sector since its foundation in 2016. In this time the team of experts - from biotechnology, manufacturing engineering, logistics and other fields of expertise - has also been engaged in development activities with their own solutions. This process was additionally supported with the inclusion in one of the national university incubators and an international accelerator program to further develop their ideas. As a result, the tool for safe and easy transfer of the cryovials has been developed and presented on the market.
Cryopreservation is a process where specific biological material (e.g. cells, tissue, organelles) is cooled to very low temperatures to considerably slow down or even stop enzymatic activities, along other chemical activities. To attain the temperature of -196 ˚C, liquid nitrogen is usually used, while for temperatures around -80 ˚C, the laboratories often utilize solid carbon dioxide. Due to specifics of the biological material, different methods and temperatures are set as a goal of cryopreservation. These processes are used in molecular biology, biochemistry, medicine, food sector and several other fields as well.
Although biological material is dormant while in cryopreservation, vials that contain it often need to be moved and this poses several risks. Lab technicians protect themselves from frostbite with thick gloves and other protection equipment, but they often find them impractical and that can prolong the time of handling the cryovials, which in turn affects the temperature around and in the cryovial. Furthermore, the thawing causes liquid nitrogen to evaporate and to expand at high ratios. That leads to considerable pressure in the vial. As a result, the vial can break - user can be in this case exposed to the biological material and the vial debris. Change of the temperature can damage the biological material, while the equipment to move cryovials has to be also sterile, otherwise its valuable content can be contaminated.
To solve these challenges, the team from a Slovenian company has developed an innovative laboratory tool to enable fast, safe and simple transfer of small containers/cryovials with cryopreserved biological material. The tool is compatible with all of the biggest brands of cryovials (such as Corning or Thermo Fisher), but also fits a wide variety of other providers’ vials. The tip of the tool works best with cryovial cap hole diameters ranging from 8.7 mm to 9.7 mm, but can be modified to fit any vial cap diameter.
The tool is ergonomically shaped like a pen and to use it, only one hand is required. During the whole process, user is in direct contact only with the tool and not with the cryovial, so the body temperature effects are mitigated. After you pick the cryovial, the tool tip is inserted into the cap and the cryovial is picked up. Afterwards the cryovial is transferred to the new location, where it is simply placed with pressing the upper part of the tool. Its use is very intuitive and no special training is required. Since the tool is made out of aluminium, its weight is minimal, regular sterilization is possible in the autoclave at 121 ˚C after every single use and additionally it can be used regularly due to its durability.
The company would like to establish new business connections abroad and expand their customer network. They are looking for distributors and agents with experience in the field of biotechnology equipment, especially with laboratories that deal with cryopreservation. The cooperation will be in a form of distribution agreement, where Slovenian company will provide the required quantities of the tool, while partners will take care of distribution on their respective markets. Additional option is also license agreement.