Who We Are

Some in the medical device field know us as inventors. 

If a combination medical device (such as a patch pump, or prefilled syringe) failure originated from the industry standard lubricant, silicone oil, there wasn’t much you could do about it. And yet, lubricant-triggered problems such as inconsistent syringe forces or sub-visible particles can cost in millions of dollars in delayed launches, recalls, and manufacturing costs.

So, with funding assistance from U.S. National Institutes of Health through its Small Business Innovation Research program, TriboFilm collaborated with industry leaders to develop two alternative coatings to silicone oil: TriboGlide-DS® and TriboLink-Si®.

Now, pharmaceutical companies and medical device startups come to TriboFilm early in the design process to mitigate this risk. We use a very unique data-driven process to scientifically test lubricant systems to help you select the right one for your medical device. 

If you’re struggling with problems such as protein aggregation, dose inaccuracy, and inconsistent syringeforces, consider setting up a free consultation with us. We do not believe in selling – we provide value and let you decide if it’s right for your needs.

Over the years, we have partnered with Big Pharma to solve perplexing materials science challenges – we are known in the industry as surface engineers who never give up.

Though our recent focus has been on reducing friction and sub-visible particles in pharmaceutical containers, including glass and plastic prefilled syringes and insulin infusion pumps, at our core, we are material scientists who love to take intractable research problems and solve them. 

Over the past eighteen years, we have partnered with Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies in addition to early-stage medical device entrepreneurs to improve the performance of drug delivery systems.

At TriboFilm, we leverage a data-driven approach to solving complex research & development questions. Our solutions are easy to industrialize and manufacture.



My job: To nurture client relationships and lead R&D innovation at TriboFilm Research, Inc.Biggest Asset: A team that I can count on. All of us are NC State alumni. Go Wolfpack!Founder Story: As a Master degree student in Materials Science & Engineering at NC State University, my mentor was no ordinary professor. Jerome (Jerry) Cuomo, a 30-year veteran of IBM Research, and National Medal of Technology laureate had over 100 patents to his name. He inspired me to become an inventor and an entrepreneur (Read the story here). We started TriboFilm Research in 1997 to combine my polymer materials and chemistry roots with Jerry’s semiconductor processing expertise. Eighteen years later, I still relish how our technical team, now strengthened by Dan, Jackson, and Tony, brings ideas together from different industries to solve problems.

Funding Model: Research in the biomaterials field is expensive, and developing TriboGlide-DS® and TriboLink-Si® took many years of experimentation. To fund our research, we applied for, and were awarded, multiple Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health. This has allowed us to commercialize technology from an idea in the lab to a market-ready product without venture capital or outside investors. The bootstrapped funding model we chose wasn’t easy, but in hindsight, it was the best thing we did as entrepreneurs. We keep our clients front and center, and do right by them because we aren’t juggling multiple agendas.

Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vinaysakhrani

VINAY’S TIP – DON’T BE SHY ABOUT CALLING US!“Our clients see us as partners they can trust. They call us to get our advice all the time. So regardless of whether our technology is right for your application, if you walk away feeling we added value to your business, we have succeeded. This is why all our client engagements begin a ‘no-strings-attached’ conversation around your specific challenges. We have been known to recommend our competitors’ products or invent new products — we see ourselves as problem solvers first. So don’t be shy about calling us! We are good listeners and we hold all client’s proprietary information and data confidential.”

JACKSON THORNTON, PH.DAssociate Director of Research

I earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science from North Carolina State University, where my research focused on plasma chemistry, surface modification, and materials testing.

My job: At TriboFilm, I’m fortunate to help some of the largest pharma companies in the world – as well as startup biotech / medical device makers reduce stiction (yes, that is a word!) and sub-visible particles. This in turn reduces product recall risk and improves patient safety. When your work directly impacts medical devices that save lives, it’s easy to be motivated!

Current focus: I’m helping a client reduce glide forces and break-loose forces for an auto-injector device, as well as improving the dose accuracy of numerous insulin infusion pumps.

Another topic is to evaluate the effect of agitation on generation of sub-visible particles in protein formulationspackaged in glass and plastic pre-fillable syringes.

“At a client’s request, we recently initiated research to reduce sub-visible particulates from syringe plungers. Using our already proven TriboLink-Si® platform, we are running tests to reduce the amount of extractable silicone oil particles from the syringe plunger, which can be a significant contributor of sub-visible particles in a container closure system. If you are struggling with this same problem, or would like to be notified when our research data is available, contact us.”

Key Insight: I’ve learned that while lubricant selection is only a small part of the overall device development cycle, it can derail an entire project if it isn’t identified and managed early.


“It’s frustrating for drug companies developing pre-filled devices when they are forced to modify a drug formulation because of packaging limitations. Everyone in the supply chain has a bias based on the technologies they are familiar with. We can connect you with syringe, plunger, and other packaging providers that might prove useful.”

JEROME J. CUOMO PH.D.Chairman, Board of Directors and President – Member of the National Academy of Engineering and National Medal of Technology Laureate

After 30 years at IBM, I came to North Carolina to start a new phase in my life as a Distinguished Research Professor in the Materials Science & Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. There, I met Vinay Sakhrani, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Though I co-invented and helped commercialized multi-million dollar projects at IBM, this was my first time as a start-up entrepreneur. Almost two decades later, I’m so proud of what TriboFilm Research has achieved, and the impact we are having in the medical device industry.


“When I explain our technology, the reaction I often get is “so TriboGlide-DS® is the ‘intel inside’ for medical devices and pre-filled containers that cannot use silicone oil.” After you see our demo, I would love to know how you would describe it!

Want to Know Our Origin Story? Click Here to Read the Entire Article!

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