NanoCommerce/SEMI NanoForum™ SPEAKERS DISCUSS REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIALIZATION OF NANOTECHNOLOGY
Nanotechnology to Have Significant Impact Across Many Applications and Industries
CHICAGO, IL. – November 2, 2005 – Commercialization was the overarching theme of day one proceedings at the 2005 NanoCommerce/SEMI NanoForum. According to speakers at the conference, nanotechnology will have a trillion dollar global economic impact by 2015, with implications to a wide number of applications including electronics, energy, pharmacology, national defense and consumer.
“…In the last three to four years, we’ve really put fine focus on taking on research and commercializing [nanotechnology] in a different way…” said Jim O’Connor, Motorola vice president, Early Stage Accelerator (ESA), during a keynote in which he discussed his company’s work toward the proliferation and diversification of products leveraging nanotechnology.
ESA is a group based on two fundamental principles–a disciplined yet aggressive approach to investment–“We’re willing to take significant risk on these technologies,” said O’Connor. This is especially important considering Wall Street looks to Motorola to actually show gains on a quarter to quarter basis, and if considering technologies that are two to three years out, it can sometimes be very difficult for companies to take such a high level of risk, he explained.
O’Connor further illustrated the move toward nanotechnology commercialization through his company’s use of nano materials in the development of cell phones with improved performance and features that weigh less and are much stronger.
The Sustainable Fair Profit model of business was the major focus of a keynote given by Rick Snyder, CEO of Ardesta and Gateway Chairman of the Board. He defined this as a product/technology that will show good profitability over a reasonable period of time representing an all around win to those involved in the process.
Snyder went on to explain that a major issue with start-up companies is that while they may see and understand the issues around this model such as distribution versus direct sales, market acceptance and shrinking margins, they are put on the back burner. This generally results in a higher level of cash burn, resulting in slow progress made, he said.
Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, focused on the impact of nanotechnology to the global biomedical industry. “Diseases know no borders…developments all over the world are dramatically impacting the world of medical innovation today,” said Burrill. “I would argue that everybody who’s got a spare parking lot in the world is trying to build a biotechnology park out of that,” he said.
He went on to explain that, “In a capital-dependent industry where we’re looking at medical innovation, capital is available and government initiatives all over the world are trying to pull this technology to the marketplace.”
During a panel discussion at the conference, Dr. Mauro Ferrari, iMEDD Founding Scientist, commented the he believes “nobody will die or suffer due to cancer by the year 2015.” He explained that there will be multiple components to this vision including elements of nanotechnology, biology, clinical practices, etc. Ferrari continued, “That isn’t to say that we would eradicate cancer, but what we can get rid of death and suffering,” allowing the afflicted to live for a longer time.
“To me the goal seems incredibly challenging…it is a noble objective, but I would not lay odds on it,” said panelist Donald Payne, Nanospectra Biosciences President in response to Ferrari’s comments. “I doubt the goal will be achieved [in that time frame], but we will make huge progress.”
SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to manufacture semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose (Calif.), Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.semi.org.