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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The changing economics of nanotech

This past week witnessed two rather startling developments which I believe fundamentally alter the economics of nanotechnology and could lead to significant commercial growth. The first revolves around Dendritic NanoTechnologies (DNT) announcement that it has developed a new type of dendrmer -- the Priostar. What makes the Priostar so important is that it can be produced in just a few days at a cost of less than $10 a gram. This is a radical improvement over DNT's PAMAM dendrimer which took almost 30 days to produce and cost $2000 a gram.

This is important because at this lower price dendrimers suddenly become practical to use in everything from coatings and catalysts to water filtration and nutraceuticals. In short, Priostar dendrimers could begin adding a great deal of value to a host of different products.

The second advances comes compliments of Cornell University which claims to have developed new nanoparticles (quantum dots) that are more chemically inert and less inexpensive to manufacture than today's quantum dots. Like the Priostar dendrimer, this development could lead to the new nanoparticles (which have been dubbed "Cornell dots") being used in a variety of new applications.

It is advances like these that will continue to push nanotech ever closer to wide scale commercial acceptance. I encourage investors to concentrate not so much on which companies are manufacturing these new materials but rather which ones are employing these new materials to make their existing products better -- because that is where the real value will be.