Behind The Numbers

Michael Berger at Nanowerk has a sceptical look at various nanotech market estimates (see also the comment below), as we have done ourselves in the past, so it is worth taking a look at where these numbers come from.

While we agree that having a market figure for the whole of ‘nano’ is meaningless, it was an interesting exercise, after years of questioning about it, to see if our model agreed with the NSF predictions. Behind the headline figure is a huge amount of detail not given in the white paper, but which breaks down the market in great detail. Many of our clients are less interested in the market for ‘nano’ than the evolution of a specific market sector, and that is what they get from us, to the level of tons of a particular kind of nanoparticle or sales of drugs devloped using a specific delivery market.

If you put all of these numbers together, in a bottom up approach, and you come up with the total market numbers.

It is worth correcting one misconception. Michael writes:

According to their example, the value of all Chevy Impalas – just because the car contains a component that contains nanoparticles – would be considered part of the nanotechnology market. That’s got to be an even higher scale-up factor than the 1,000 for the drug in the Cientifica example.

In this example our model would look at the value of any anti scratch coating and conductive composites rather than the value of a Chevvy Impala. The Chevvy Impala is not enabled by any of the nanotechnologies (in fact haven driven a few of the appalling beasts I wonder why it was ever enabled by General Motors!) whereas some of the components are. Thus, we look at the value of those components, not the value of the whole car. For a drug delivery example, we look at drugs enabled by nanotechnologies, i.e. ones that just wouldn’t be possible any other way.

As far as no one wanting a report covering the whole of nanotech goes, there is a market, as anyone involved in an information portal covering the whole of nanotech will appreciate. Most of our clients for this type of overview are government agencies trying to gauge the impact of technologies and attempting to make the right decisions about funding and supporting academic research, and as such want to understand how the various technologies fit together before they concentrate on a specific vertical markets.

However the main message of our study is that the market numbers confirm what we are seeing across industry, that the future of nanotech will be wet, and the nanobio space is the place to be. The recent sale of CNI just confirms our long standing recommendation to avoid pure play nanomaterials companies like the plague.

Comments 1

  1. Michael Berger

    To correct the misconception about the misconception: The above quote is taken out of context. It refers not to Cientifica but to the Lux Research report “Sizing Nanotechnology’s Value Chain”. In this report Lux Research does indeed include the value of the Chevy Impalas in the overall nanotechnology market size figure (as the graphic below this statement in my original text clearly illustrates).

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