Tough test tubes

OCT. 30–PORTLAND, Ore.–Startup bioscience company Microstein LLC has introduced a new microcentrifuge tube design called the “microstein. “

The test tubes are used in laboratories, clinics and hospitals for basic research and tests. People who work in lab settings handle the instruments hundreds of times a day, and the repetitive motion has been shown to not only cause strain and injury, but contamination as well, says Roy Garvin, co-founder and managing partner of Microstein.

“It’s quite a costly problem,” Garvin told The Business Journal of Portland.

Unlike conventional tubes, the startup’s patented system allows the tube to be opened and closed with minimal pressure, greatly reducing repetitive strain injuries, he said. When open, the lid doubles as a shield eliminating the risk of tube contamination. The lid design is similar to that of a beer stein, Garver said.

Other features of the microstein design include one-handed operation, an integrated tab for extraction from racks or rotors and a reduction in lid and hinge interference between adjacent racked tubes.

Microstein was founded in 2002 by Garvin, who previously managed a molecular biology lab in the United Kingdom, and Alasdair Burns, who ran a clinic in London for people with repetitive strain injury.

“A lot of my technicians went to [Alasdair Burns] for repetitive strain injury; that’s how we got together on this,” Garvin said.

The pair has raised $200,000 in private capital to begin manufacturing and molding microstein microcentrifuge tubes in Oregon. They have begun to sell the tubes through the Vancouver, Wash., medical supply company Northwest Life Sciences, and have already received several orders, they say. They will also be selling the tubes directly to customers.

The company has six employees, and will begin recruiting for more in two weeks.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.