Redbud Labs of Chapel Hill, NC at MEDICA 2017 in Düsseldorf -- COMPAMED Trade Fair

Redbud Labs

271 Phillips Hall, 27599 Chapel Hill, NC

This company is co-exhibitor of
Messe Düsseldorf North America

Hall map

MEDICA 2017 hall map (Hall 16): stand E10-15

Fairground map

MEDICA 2017 fairground map: Hall 16


Ricky Spero

Co-founder and CEO

Zen Dedekind

Business Development

Our range of products

Product categories

  • 03  Diagnostics
  • 03.01  Clinical chemistry
  • 03.01.07  Gene tests / molecular biological diagnostic

Gene tests / molecular biological diagnostic

Our products

Product category: Gene tests / molecular biological diagnostic


Introducing the fastest, most adaptable microfluidic mixer in the world. Speed up your assays, shrink your system, and reduce your assembly costs.

Meet the world’s fastest, most adaptable microfluidic mixer.
MXR stirs up a chamber in seconds. This feat is powered by Redbud Posts, microscopic features that move like tiny stir bars to agitate microliter volumes of fluid. MXR is perfect for 1–100 µL volumes and 0.1 – 1 mm tall chambers.

This isn’t the first method for microfluidic mixing, but it might be the first you’ll actually use. MXR can rehydrate dried reagents, blend two liquids, or speed up liquid-phase reactions.

A whole new kind of kinetics
You wouldn’t expect great results from a chemistry lab without a shaker or rotator. Don’t expect to get away with concentration gradients when your assay moves from the bench to a cartridge.

MXR makes any chamber a mixing chamber, with no pumps, bubbles, or vibration. It’s even compatible with optical and electrical sensors. The result is faster reaction kinetics, better analyte utilization, and better analytic consistency.

Make any chamber a mixing chamber
MXR uses a patent-pending modular design that makes adding mixing to your existing cartridge a breeze. MXR won’t constrain the design of your cartridge or instrument, and it might even lower your assembly costs.

Whether your design is based on an injection molded chassis or laser-cut laminates, whether it’s powered by capillary action or pneumatic fluid control, MXR can work with your processes. Zero dead volume, no pumps, and no new tooling tolerances. Just mixing, right where you need it.

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Product category: Gene tests / molecular biological diagnostic

Redbud Posts

Redbud Posts are high aspect ratio, flexible, microposts that move in response to magnetic fields. They move in a wide variety of patterns, depending on the specific time-varying magnetic field to which they are exposed.

Originally developed as biomimetic cilia, these microposts have fascinating material properties. Their physical characteristics (diameter, length, and density) can be precisely controlled. So too can their chemical, elastic, and magnetic properties. The result is a rich design space that enables a wide range of practical applications. (Redbud Labs has exclusive right to practice a variety of patented inventions based on this technology.)

For example, Redbud Posts can pump and mix fluids at the microscale. This insight is at the heart of MXR, the first microfluidic mixing module designed specifically for diagnostic devices. Redbud Posts have been used as a micro-elastometer, enabling next generation blood coagulation assays in a solid-state design. At Redbud Labs, we continue to explore novel applications of micropost technology, with several innovative products under development.

A variety of additional factors make Redbud Posts perfect for next-generation life science applications:

  • They are formed out of cost-effective and biocompatible materials and manufactured using highly scalable soft-lithography methods.
  • They can be combined with a wide range of optical analytic modalities.
  • The surface chemistry can be tuned.
  • Reagents can be lyophilized the posts.
  • The motion generates low shear, minimizing damage to delicate samples.
  • The magnetic actuation method is isothermal and Redbud Posts operate over a wide temperature range.

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Company news




Oct 6, 2017

Designing cartridges: custom or off-the-shelf?

We recently had the pleasure of collaborating with the talented folks at Fusion Biotec to write a short piece looking at how diagnostics development is changing. Our primary observation: microfluidic technologies are maturing, and that means more pre-built and off-the-shelf options than ever before.

From the article:
"Designing point-of-care diagnostic cartridges has always been a custom affair….However, as the industry matures, novel components, pre-developed subsystems, and even entire white-label systems are increasingly viable options….Diagnostic cartridges are usually microfluidic systems in which fluids behave non-intuitively, and assays that performed reliably in a wet lab with pipettes and tubes may start to fail….

Using modules and components that have been road tested in similar assays can mitigate these risks. Historically, this was nearly impossible because microfluidics was an active research area. But over the last two decades, microfluidics has moved slowly but unmistakably from the research lab to the manufacturing floor, and ultimately into the clinic. As the field matures and methods become more consistent, purpose-built components become better defined".

Of course, we’re particularly proud of our contribution to this rapidly advancing technology stack. MXR is the first microfluidic mixer designed specifically for integration into diagnostic consumables, and it can substantially reduce the risk of cartridge development. As we say in the article, MXR is a specialty component that allows cartridge designers to enable mixing “in the same location as a function like reagent combination, sample incubation, or signal detection.” We also get to talk about why mixing, in particular, is a problem better left to specialists:

"The temptation to develop an in-house solution is also dangerous because mixing in microfluidic systems is a well-established, deeply challenging problem and the subject of intense academic research. In these cases, adding the right component to an existing module is a helpful solution".

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Jun 28, 2017

Why we invented MXR

We recently announced our first product, MXR. It’s the first microfluidic mixer specifically designed for diagnostic consumables. As anyone who has developed a small-volume assay knows, microfluidic mixing is a universal problem in our industry.

Mixing is so obviously essential for life science assays that we rarely think about it until we discover there’s a problem with our assay. It takes too long, it doesn’t behave reliably, the sensitivity is poor. When we go to fix the problem, each of us solves the problem anew, with some workaround in the cartridge design.

Given how ubiquitous a problem microfluidic mixing is, the real question is why no one has offered a product like MXR before.

It’s not like there’s a lack of scientific work on the subject. But there are two big problems with the literature. For one thing, virtually all of the scientific work uses continuously pumped fluid instead of enclosed chambers. For another, cutting edge microfluidic technologies are virtually impossible to add to real-world consumable cartridges.

Mixing with zero dead volume
First: flow-through chambers. The standard mixing demo sets up a laminar flow condition using a Y-channel, then uses the mixing tech to disperse the laminar boundary. (Even we’ve done it.) A whole subcategory of mixing methods—the so-called “passive” methods—require this kind of fluid motion in order to work. This dramatically reduces their utility. While their instantaneous chamber volume may be small, but the total volume isn’t. This is not helpful for cartridge developers, because we have very strong opinions about the total sample volume. We also typically want our samples to stay put, because long channel runs take up space, and we want a small cartridge footprint. Also, during or after the mixing we’re probably going to measure something with a sensor in a fixed location. A traveling sample makes everything more complicated.

Our own work, published back in 2010 by Adam Shields and Briana Fiser et al., was a rare exception. We showed that biomimetic cilia could generate simultaneous pumping and mixing. The fluid they were pumping had to go somewhere, but because these micro-posts were in an enclosed chamber, the only place for it to go was in circles.

The punchline is that MXR makes any chamber a mixing chamber. No pumps. No plumbing. Zero dead volume.

Easy integration
Second: integration. There is no shortage of novel microfluidic devices in the world. Some are even manufacturable at workable scale and cost—for example, with a micro-machined injection molding tool, or commoditized semiconductor processing methods. But while those methods scale for small microfluidic chips, are they are rarely workable for the rest of the cartridge. In other cases, the novel method requires very precise flow rate control that is substantially constrains the design of the instrument. Novel methods often require additional electrical or mechanical contacts with the cartridge. And so on.

These nagging problems were the motivation behind MXR. It makes any chamber a mixing chamber, and it’s packaged and ready to be added right where you need it. For diagnostic cartridges, this easy integration makes all the difference in the world.

Our aim is to wrap our arms around ubiquitous microfluidic problems, and develop generic, powerful solutions that everyone in our industry can take advantage of. With MXR, our intentions is to solve microfluidic mixing, once and for all. We can’t wait to see what you do with it.

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Jun 28, 2017

Redbud Labs announces MXR

Microfluidic mixer MXR enables 10x faster molecular assays

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Redbud Labs has released MXR, a microfluidic chip that accelerates molecular assays by up to 10x. Designed specifically for diagnostic consumables, MXR can be added to virtually any cartridge design.

MXR is a microfluidic mixer. It delivers rapid but gentle agitation that can improve reaction kinetics, decrease variability, and simplify cartridge design. For life science assays, microfluidic mixing is a pervasive challenge that has been studied extensively in research labs. MXR is the first mixing method that was designed for real-world diagnostic consumables.

With MXR, typical mixing times are comparable to pill-style stir-bars, at less than 30 seconds. But unlike a stir-bar, MXR easily integrates with high-volume cartridge assembly and multiple reaction chambers. MXR works effectively with a wide range of sample volumes, from less than 1 µL to greater than 100 µL. The chip does not introduce heat, bubbles, or significant shear. MXR is fully biocompatible.

“Our intention is to solve microfluidic mixing, once and for all. Given how ubiquitous mixing problems are, the question is why no one has offered a product like MXR before,” said Redbud Labs CEO Ricky Spero. “The reason is that most microfluidic methods are unworkable for real-world consumable cartridges. MXR is cutting edge technology that’s easy to integrate.”

MXR is ideal anywhere small-volume agitation is desired, including reagent rehydration or mixing of two droplets. MXR has been used to make molecular assays run as much as ten times faster.

“We are seeing 10x reductions in assay time for multiplex biosensors in cartridges with MXR,” said Alastair Malcolm, CEO of Applied Microarrays. “By introducing agitation directly into the detection chamber, MXR complements traditional methods for optimizing sensor design, such as surface chemistry and probe selection. This is an exciting new tool for system developers looking to improve performance.”

MXR is the first microfluidic chip released by Redbud Labs. It uses Redbud Posts, a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology conceived in Professor Richard Superfine’s research group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Redbud Posts were designed to mimic the behavior of cilia, the microscopic hair-like structures used to manipulate fluids in a wide range of organisms, from bacteria to cells lining the human airway.

To learn more about MXR and obtain a starter kit, visit

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About us

Company details

Redbud Labs is a microfluidic chip manufacturer. We are pioneering a new category of consumable components with MXR, the world’s first fully modular microfluidic mixer. World-class biotechnology firms use MXR to boost assay performance.

Redbud Labs leverages MEMS technology conceived in Professor Richard Superfine’s research group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We combine our breakthrough platform with deep scientific expertise to develop elegant solutions to the toughest microfluidic challenges.

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