According to data compiled in the just-released NanoBiotech News 2006 Nanomedicine, Device & Diagnostic Report, 130 nanotech-based drugs and delivery systems and 125 devices or diagnostic tests have entered preclinical, clinical, or commercial development, meaning the clinical pipeline has grown 68% since last year at this time.
"What we're seeing is a growing community of nanobiotech drug and device developers who are digging in their heels - and surviving," says Lynn Yoffee, associate publisher of NanoBiotech News, which produced the 2006 Nanomedicine, Device & Diagnostic Report.
"Along with that comes the advance of numerous product candidates marching beyond concept well into trials, ever closer to market."
"The industry is experiencing an evolution similar to what we saw in biotechnology, but the nanobiotech developers are putting together therapies and diagnostics with an even more astonishing 'wow' factor."
Some of those products include: A nanoviricide for Avian flu, Nano-based coatings for medical implants that will permit safe magnetic resonance imaging, A multifunctional nano device that selectively binds to cancer tumor cells and destroys them.
"Although we keep a very close eye on the progress of drug candidates, we know the most immediate impact of nanotechnology in health care will be seen in earnest within the next couple of years in the form of medical devices," says Yoffee.
"It's less complicated to get them developed and through the regulatory process."
A plethora of new deals brewed in 2005. Nearly a third (30%) of all products is being developed as part of collaborations or licensing deals, another trend similar to the biotechnology industry growth.
But during tough markets, only the top deals attract capital, says Douglas W. Jamison, president of New York venture capital firm Harris & Harris Group, Inc.
When the market opens up, marginal companies also receive funding – not necessarily a positive event for the market but certainly good news for start-up companies.
From a capitalization standpoint, the biggest news during 2005 was the introduction of $20 million series A financings, which allowed companies to move their technologies into phase II clinical trials, Jamison says.
But without new players coming into the nanobiotech market, the same investors are putting money into these deals.
Consequently, he expects to see fewer early stage deals in 2006 and a corresponding weed-out of nanobiotech start-ups.
"This could be the winnowing year for nanobiotech," Jamison says. "The cream will rise, and others will fail to receive second and third rounds of funding. In fact, that's already starting to occur."
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