National Nanomanufacturing Network: How well is University-based nanotechnology research transferring to the marketplace? The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a story on June 28th that explores the varying success of three different licensed technologies from the University of Minnesota.
Medical, manufacturing, and energy technologies that have emerged from the research labs at the University of Minnesota have been licensed to three different, Minnesota-based companies: Nanocopoeia Inc., Rushford Hypersonic, and Innovalight Inc. (now operating out of Sunnyvale CA). Each technology faces different barriers to market entry, and each has experienced different levels of success.
According to the article, the regulatory barriers facing medical or pharmaceutical technologies are significantly higher than those for technologies with manufacturing and materials applications. To corroborate this, the article quotes Lux Reasearch as saying: "Among products incorporating nanotech, manufacturing and materials generated $158 billion in 2008 compared to $24 billion for health care and life sciences."
The article offers a sober picture of technology transfer, but remains optimistic about the potential for nanotechnologies to impact the marketplace.