Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cell Controls
Precise, reliable and repeatable results

Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cell Controls by Slingshot

Spend less time qualifying results, and more time getting results. Slingshot’s Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cell Controls make these goals achievable in your experiments. The revolutionary technology decreases cost, shortens development timelines and increases stability, impact and accessibility. This is a new paradigm for drug development, diagnostics and cell therapy – one without limitations.

Spend less time and resources developing cell reference materials and QC standards and more time:

  • Advancing translational research
  • Achieving unparalleled cell analysis and biomarker quantitation
  • Streamlining QC processes for cell therapies to get them to patients faster

Slingshot’s synthetic cells imitate real cells’ characteristics indistinguishably


The most advanced and ideal cell control

Through the intersection of biochemistry, polymer chemistry and high-precision manufacturing, we have created FlowCytes® – synthetic cells that are indistinguishable from real cells. The Slingshot platform is the world’s first on demand, synthetic cell design platform to address the industry’s reliance on and limitations around biologically-derived cellular controls. This breakthrough technology creates synthetic cells that match the optical, fluorescence and biochemical features of any cell type – even rare disease types. The result is the ideal cell control, achieved without sacrificing performance or consistency.

FlowCytes® are shelf stable and can be custom printed on-demand, at scale, in real time. Slingshot’s technology decreases cost, shortens development timelines and increases accessibility to cell controls. Our cutting-edge technology platform can be used in a range of applications including:

  • Assay development
  • Laboratory diagnostics
  • Adoptive cell therapy
  • Drug development
  • Cell analysis instrument performance

The breakthrough technology creates synthetic cells that match the optical, fluorescence and biochemical features of any cell type, even rare disease types. FlowCytes® – the backbone of our products – are a series of synthetic cells assembled in a 3D spherical matrix, physically resembling a cell. FlowCytes® are nearly indistinguishable between live cells when analyzed in a flow cytometer. This makes FlowCytes® the ideal cell controls to calibrate, standardize and ensure performance for instruments and assays.


Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cells
Synthetic Cells for high-precision calibration in flow cytometry


Complete Customization

Slingshot scientists can partner with you to customize our products to your needs, on demand. Our technology is built on proprietary predictive modeling, uniquely designed microsystems, and a manufacturing platform that precisely creates off-the-shelf solutions for cell-like reagents that are stable and cost effective, in just hours. We can quickly scale to bioprint custom FlowCytes® with extreme precision and high throughput while meeting high ISO 9001 quality standards.


Current methods vs. Slingshot

In flow cytometry, controls have traditionally come from blood donations or solid-core plastic beads. Current blood controls cannot be manufactured without using technology to combine human and animal cells or sourcing primary cells from active donors. Only <1% of blood diseases have available controls.

Biological Controls

High cost

Batch-to-batch variability

Cell line maintenance

Biohazardous shipping and handling

Poor stability

Polystyrene solid-core beads

High non-specific binding

No mimicking of cell autofluorescence

Fundamentally different properties from cells, incl. RI and FSC vs SSC

The innovative technology from Slingshot Biosciences is designed to help researchers get customizable cellular controls quickly, without sourcing primary cells or generating cell banks. Even the rarest of diseases can accurately be profiled with an off-of-the-shelf control product.


Advantages of Slingshot technology

  • The manufacturing process effectively eliminates lot-to-lot variability and saves time and money in qualifying QC material.
  • Non-bio based synthetic controls are stable, sustainable, and precisely mimic cell attributes.
  • Compensation controls designed for spectral flow analysis with cell-like autofluorescence for superior signal-to-noise performance.
  • Slingshot Synthetic Cells can be customized with biomarkers, in addition, to quantitatively modified with encapsulated nucleic acids.

FlowCytes® – the ideal synthetic cells

A new standard for instrument calibration and traceability

Breakthrough cellular mimics that match the optical properties of cells. Sets a new standard for instrument calibration and traceability.

FlowCytes® are the ideal alternative to using cell controls. Instantly and easily mimic lymphocyte, monocyte, and granulocyte populations to calibrate instruments or to QC assays. Ensuring that instruments are at peak performance and consistent over time is critical to generating quality flow cytometry data. Slingshot’s technology uniquely solves this by combining ease of use, accuracy, and consistency to the complicated world of instrument calibration.

Our shelf-stable synthetic cells are produced with incredibly high precision which translates to minimal lot-to-lot variability and consistent precision. FlowCytes® are the ideal solution to ensure that the most advanced flow cytometers are always at peak performance.


Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cells Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Granulocytes.
Isolated PBMCs (left figure) – VS. – FlowCytes® PBMC mimics (right figure)

FlowCytes® synthetic white blood cells (WBC) are shelf stable synthetic cells that mimic the optical properties of human blood populations for unfixed lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes. This product is intended as a forward and side scatter control for the identification and analysis of whole blood populations. The synthetic mimics can be used to measure flow cytometry instrument performance or as an assay control for traceability and standardization.



  • Easy to use and seamlessly fits into existing workflow. No special handling and preparation, unlike with biological controls
  • Highly precise performance with minimal lot-to-lot variability
  • Long shelf-life and stability at room temperature for convenient use in the field
  • Safe, non-biohazardous product that travels anywhere

SpectraComp® Compensation Beads

Synthetic fluorescence compensation controls designed for the modern spectral flow cytometry. SpectraComp® compensation controls are state-of-the-art synthetic cells that mimic the scatter profile of lymphocytes, captures multiple species of antibodies, and matches the spectral fluorescence of stained cells. This product is intended for spectral compensation to match the single staining of real cells. Staining with the capture beads yield a positive and a negative fluorescence peak that will aid in resolving the performance of the dyes and in compensating for spectral overlaps of dyes.


Optimize your spectral flow analysis

Fluorescence, compensation, and cellular controls are the backbone of generating reliable flow cytometry data. Polystyrene solid-core beads used for instrument and assay setup have high levels of non-specific binding, do not mimic cell autofluorescence, and have fundamentally different properties from cells, including FSC vs SSC. This leads to controls that do not match the spectral profile of single stained cells, under-or over-compensation calculations, and ultimately compromised accuracy of data.

SpectraComp® compensation controls from Slingshot Biosciences are synthetic cells that mimic the optical and autofluorescence profile of lymphocytes and capture multiple species of antibodies. Precise, reliable, and repeatable results – with SpectraComp®, these goals are now achievable in your spectral flow cytometry experiments.

Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cells Autofluorescence in Spectral Analysis vs. polystyrene-based competitor.
Autofluorescence in Spectral Analysis. Autofluorescence across a full emission spectrum was evaluated for cells, SpectraComp® and competitor polystyrene-based compensation beads.



  • Unparalleled high fluorescence response (greater than 10e5 MFI)
  • Conveniently works with multiple species of antibodies: mouse, rat, and hamster
  • Exceptional performance in spectral analysis and unmixing
  • Compatible with violet and UV fluorochromes
  • Cell-like autofluorescence for superior signal-to-noise performance

ViaComp® Viability Compensation

Convenient and reliable controls to measure cell health.


ViaComp® viability controls are advanced 2-in-1 beads that bind to both DNA intercalating dyes (7AAD, DAPI, PI) and amine-reactive viability dyes to simulate the viability staining of cells. This product is intended as compensation and assay controls to match the viability staining of real cells. The combination of positive and negative binding beads yields positive and negative fluorescence peaks that will aid in identifying the live and dead cell populations.

Viability staining is important both in experimental research and therapeutic applications of flow cytometry. Creating consistent, reliable cell viability controls is difficult, which becomes much harder when researchers have limited biospecimens. Currently, common viability control methods require researchers to kill a portion of their cells in an added step that is wasteful, time-consuming, and often still does not achieve the desired standard of control.

ViaComp® is a one-of-a-kind viability control containing conveniently pre-mixed live and dead synthetic cell mimics. ViaComp® dead cell mimics contain DNA, making this reagent a full process control for DNA-intercalating live/dead labeling. At the same time, the product works exceptionally well with a wide array of both DNA and primary amine dyes.

Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cells ViaComp® beads have encapsulated DNA which yield a high and specific signal to DNA intercalating dyes.
High DNA Binding. ViaComp® beads have encapsulated DNA which yield a high and specific signal to DNA intercalating dyes. Moreover, the mixed positive and negative beads result in clear separation of the peaks.


  • The only viability control that binds to both DNA and amine-reactive viability dyes
  • Exceptionally positive peak signal (greater than 10e5 MFI) to make detection easy
  • Zero non-specific binding to the negative peak
  • Conveniently pre-mixed negative and positive control beads in a ready-to-use dropper bottle


TruCytes™ Synthetic Cells with Biomarkers

High performance synthetic cells with key biomarkers. Experience a new level of accuracy and reliability.

Flow cytometry, a critical enabling technology, has significantly ad­vanced over the last 30 years, with the exception of cellular controls. Current blood controls cannot be manufactured without using tech­nology to combine human and an­imal cells or sourcing primary cells from active donors. Only <1% of blood diseases have available con­trols. These biological controls have high cost, batch-to-batch variabil­ity, cell line maintenance, biohaz­ardous shipping and handling, and poor stability.


TruCytes™ products:

  • TruCytes™ TBNK Control
  • TruCytes™ Fixed Synthetic WBC
  • TruCytes™ TBMNK Control
  • TruCytes™ NK-Cell CD16/53+ Mimics
  • TruCytes™ B-Cell CD19+ Mimics
  • TruCytes™ T-Cell CD8+ Mimics
  • TruCytes™ T-Cell CD4+ Mimics

On top of these, TruCytes™ can be customized to match rare diseases – a known bottle­neck in development – and any hema­tological malignancy in record time.

 TruCytes™ TBNK Flow Cytometry Synthetic Cells match the biochemical profile and optical properties of any target cell population
TruCytes™ TBNK Synthetic Cellular Controls match the biochemical profile and optical properties of any target cell population, eliminating the drawbacks that traditionally come with using bio-based cellular controls.



  • Easy to use and seamlessly fits into existing workflow. No special handling and preparation, unlike with biological controls
  • Safe, non-biohazardous product that travels anywhere
  • Accurate antigen density to match the correct cell types
  • Biomarker “expression” can be tuned to match poorly-expressed markers
  • Superior consistency and reliability with minimal lot-to-lot variability as compared to traditional controls
  • Long shelf-life and stability at room temperature for convenient use in the field compared to biologically-derived cellular controls

Flow Cytometry NovoCyte Instruments

Multicolor research instruments for your flow cytometry lab

Flow Cytometry NovoCyte Instruments

Single Cell Dispenser Namocell

Effortless single cell sorting for Single Cell Genomics & Cell Line Development

Single Cell Dispenser Namocell

Antibodies for Flow Cytometry

Setting the benchmark for Flow Cytometry. Powerful – Broad range – Multiple Fluorophores

Antibodies for Flow Cytometry


Dr. Thorsten Rieling

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