3 Technologies Changing the Biotech Game
February 22, 2013, 1:01 pm
I don’t know about you, but I still can’t believe how far we’ve come in the biotech industry. Think about it: The epidemics that used to wipe out millions of people–like cholera and yellow fever–can now be avoided through vaccinations or treated with a tiny pill that packs a powerful punch. But the biotech industry hasn’t slowed down in creating game-changing technology, it’s picking up steam. And that’s what I love about it. This is a sector that is always growing, creating innovative products, and most importantly–saving lives. So when I heard about three new game-changing innovations, I just had to tell you about them.
- Self-Healing Materials. We get cuts and scrapes all the time. The treatment? A little Neosporin and a Band-Aid and your skin is as good as new in a few days’ time. You spring a leak and your blood clots to stop it. It’s one of the marvels of the human body, and now scientists are trying to replicate it. If non-living structural materials could heal themselves whenever cut or cracked, the possibilities would be endless.
- Remote Sensing. Can you imagine going to the doctor and have your vitals taken without ever being touched? That’s exactly what remote sensing is. And companies have already put products on the market with this tech built in. Take Nike, for example. Nike created the FuelBand, which is worn on your wrist and measures activity level. The band’s activity targets also help you stay in shape as you meet each one. You no longer have to hope that the quick workout you got at the gym before work was enough for the day. The band will tell you. But remote sensing isn’t just for sports; there are other sensors in the works. Sensors that can go so far as to allow cars to detect and reduce (and possibly eliminate altogether) vehicle collisions. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and this technology could help lower that statistic.
- Precise Drug Delivery through Nanoscale Engineering. Treating an illness reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but instead of porridge, she’s deciding between pill doses. If the dose is too high, you can face side effects and if it’s too low, you won’t feel better. The dosage has to be just right in order to fight off the illness and keep you from experiencing side effects. Because most medications are so different, you can’t always follow the typical OTC regime of “take two if 12 or older.” You find that it can take quite a few doctors’ visits before you begin to feel better. And that’s why this new tech is such a game changer. It allows drugs to be precisely delivered at the molecular level using nanoscale engineering to make the medication more effective while reducing side effects. You can get better, faster without multiple trips to the doctor.
Biotech has come so far, and yet we are still only in the beginning stages of life-changing discoveries. The days are not far away when you will walk into your doctor’s office with your medical history and genetic profile on a disc (or maybe even your phone), and your doctor will prescribe a medication that is custom-made for your genome, maximizing effectiveness and minimizing side effects. In addition to the scientific advancements, the industry is just entering an era of well-publicized reform. With reform comes opportunity – for companies and smart investors.