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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Here's a link to my latest article in The Motley Fool. It's entitled: DuPont: The Truth Helps Nanotech. It reviews how DuPont is applying the painful lessons it learned from its recent run-in with the EPA regarding PFOC (i.e. the $16 million fine) to nanotechnology. It is just one of the reasons I'm bullish on DuPont's long-term prospects. (Full Disclosure: I don't own any DuPont stock at this time.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Response to Altair Criticisms

In today's Motley Fool, I had an article entitled: Another Press Release from Altair.

In response, I have received a few emails criticizing me for being unduly harsh on Altair, bashing the stock for my own financial stake, or being just plain stupid.

Before, I address these criticisms individually, I encourage you to read the article and judge for yourself.

To begin, the reason I have been so negative on Altair is because I believe in the potential of nanotechnology. As a result, I am confident that a number of nanotechnology-related companies -- as well as investors -- are going to do quite well. As with the Dot.Com era, however, there is going to be a lot of hype surrounding the field. I am of the opinion that this hype is, in general, a bad thing. As such, when I feel companies are unnecessarily or unrealisticly touting nanotech's benefits to an unsuspecting public, I intend to call them on it. That is because I think such dubious companies have the potential to give the whole nanotech industry (such as it is) a black eye.

As to the second criticism, I want to make it crystal clear that I neither own Altair stock, nor do I short the stock.

As for the third and final criticism (i.e. my intelligence), I'll willfully admit that they may have a point ... but it has nothing to do with my position on Altair. In fact, one of my very first postings on this blog was a posting critical of an earlier article in The Motley Fool about Altair. I encourage you to read it here. If nothing else, I have been consistent in my criticism of Altair. And, more to the point, I will remain critical until the company actually produces a real product and signs up some real customers.

If and when they do that, I'll happily write an article to that effect.

Sincerely,

Jack Uldrich

Related Links:
Toshiba vs Altair
Altair: Fooling the Fools
Is Altair all Hot Air?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Nano Greases the Skids

Here's a link to my latest article in The Motley Fool. It's entitled: Nano Greases the Skids for Intel. It reviews Intel's latest forays into the field of material science. I expect developments in this area to yield significant improvements in a variety of Intel's next generation products.

I don't mention this in the article but the company Intel is collaborating with in this field is Qinetiq. It is a company I profile in my forthcoming book,Investing in Nanotechnology: Think Small, Win Big, and one I encourage investors to put on their radar screens.

(Full disclosure: I own stock in Intel at this time but not Qinetiq.)

Jack Uldrich

Monday, December 05, 2005

The FDA's Softening Skin

This past Friday, an FDA advisory panel determined that an experimental skin patch designed to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was safe and effective. The ruling burned some investors because, the day before, a key FDA staffer publicly suggested said that the patch was too risky.

This type of hyper-activity leads me to wonder if perhaps the FDA shouldn’t conduct some further testing of the patch on its own staff.

In all seriousness, though, the FDA usually follows the advice of its advisory panels and the patch, which will deliver a generic version of Ritalin, will likely be formally approved toward the end of this month. This is good news for the manufacturer the patch, Noven Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: NOVN) and Britain-based Shire Pharmaceuticals Group (L: SHP).

From a broader perspective, however, the ruling should serve as a warning sign to investors hoping to profit from the advancement of alternative drug delivery systems. Drug delivery is now one of the hottest areas in pharmaceutical research and development, and it has been estimated that the demand for new systems could grow 10% annually for the next few years.

Controlled-released pills will likely remain the dominant method for delivering drugs to their target for the foreseeable future, but, as someone who follows the advances in nanotechnology quite closely -- and understands its potential to make implants, patches and inhalers far more effective -- I am both pleased and unnerved at the FDA’s recent reversal.

I am pleased because the FDA is obviously open to the unique benefits that these new alternatives can provide. For instance, they give patients who dislike or find taking pills to be unpleasant a second option; or, as in the case of a patch, they allow the drug to be quickly removed if the drug’s adverse side-effects prove to be too discomforting.

Other nanoscale drug delivery systems will offer additional benefits. Unfortunately,
I am not confident the staff at the FDA understands enough about these new technologies to make informed decisions about the myriad of devices which are likely to require approval in the years ahead.

As a result, I think investors can expect to be jerked around by an FDA staff which is uncomfortable in its attempt to quantify the risks and benefits of these new systems.

Therefore, while the FDA has seemingly softened its skin with regard to ADHD patch, I advise investors to develop a thick skin and learn to control their emotions in response to future FDA decisions. My guess is that we will be seeing more -- and not fewer -- such reversals in the future.

Jack Uldrich

P.S. I don't own any stock in the companies mentioned in this article.