Nanotech Hype versus Actual

The potential for nanomedicne, the medical application of nanotechnology, is vast, as has been pronounced almost endlessly since it was conceived. However, already on the market in the United States are wound dressings that exploit the antimicrobial properties of nanocrystalline silver, and nanotech-based products for drug delivery, materials technologies and other nanomedical applications are indeed real and in clinical trials now. Many ompanies are developing a diverse range of nanotechnology types for applications including biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery, materials uses, and sensors & diagnostics. These select applications represent just a small sample of the possibilities being pursued, but also represent uses that have made noteworthy progress toward commercialization, a very elusive aspect of the often overstated nanotechnology industry. The unique traits of nanoparticles, fullerenes and other nanoscale structures that either represent novel types of biopharmaceuticals or allow coupling to therapeutic agents for more effective (e.g., localized) drug delivery have lended themselves to development by many companies. Here are examples:

  • Avidimer Therapeutics
  • Introgen Therapeutics
  • BioSanté Pharmaceuticals
  • ImaRx Therapeutics

One very common use of nanotechnology, under development at many companies and institutions, is as a means to develop unique materials with properties similar to, or even identical to, other naturally occurring or synthetic materials, but with distinct advantages afforded by the materials. Examples:

  • Angstrom Medical
  • MIV Therapeutics
  • …many others

Nanotech-based sensors and diagnostics represent a middle ground, in development terms, between nanotech-as-materials and therapeutic nanotech devices, and many companies are focusing efforts in this area, including:

  • Biophage Pharma
  • Orion Integrated Biosciences
  • …more

We adddress the nanotechnology/MEMS industry, reviewing the technologies, applications and their status for companies in a range of applications of nanomedicine and micromedicine in the May 2006 MedMarkets. Related Tags: , , , ,

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