The US House of Representatives yesterday passed a new bill into law that sets out the country's strategy in the area of nanotechnology, which has a range of applications from pharmaceutical drug delivery to electronics.
The Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (S 189) has also cleared the US Senate and puts the National Nanotechnology Initiative onto the statute. It authorises spending of $3.7 billion (€3.1bn) over the next four years on nanotechnology research and development and provides for the creation of a specific body - the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office (NNCO) - to oversee this effort.
The bill covers the creation of research centres, education and training efforts, research into the social and ethical consequences of nanotechnology and efforts to transfer technology into the marketplace.
"When one looks at the next 100 years of human development and the growth of the global economy, no vote taken by Congress in the past decade will have a greater effect than today's overwhelming passage of the nanotechnology bill," commented Mark Modzelewski, executive director of the NanoBusiness Alliance, which was instrumental in getting the bill passed.
Caliper Technologies and Aclara Biosciences are two companies looking at life science applications of nanotechnology. Both are working on micron-scale microfluidics technologies in drug discovery applications and are researching the use of even smaller systems for their lab-on-a-chip portfolios.
Meanwhile, another nanotechnology company - Nanoscience Technologies - announced yesterday that it has licensed various intellectual properties relating to DNA nanotechnology from the University of New York in the US.
Structural DNA nanotechnology seeks to exploit the architectural properties of DNA with the ultimate goal of organising matter in three dimensions. Pharmaceutical development, nano-electronics and the creation of new materials are among the potential applications of this research.
Under the terms of the deal, Nanoscience has agreed to provide to NYU minimum funding of $1.65 million, as well as additional fees and expenses based on the progress of research in the area.