Elicia Maine, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business in Vancouver, said these technology start-ups were born of tightly integrated private industry and university research labs -- and now they are driving invention at the crossroads of nanotechnology and biotechnology.
This, in turn, is energizing many economic sectors such as business investment and manufacturing, Maine told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.
Maine and colleagues identified, classified and analyzed more than 500 of the world's first companies in the emerging bio-nano sector not just in California's Silicon Valley and the northeastern United States but also across the country, and in Europe.
"We have watched the ecosystem emerge in terms of the number and type of firms entering," Maine said in a statement. "This confluence of technology silos in the emerging bio-nano sector is enabling radical innovation, new products and connections that didn't exist before. Some of the things we're talking about are targeted drug delivery, tissue engineering, enhanced medical diagnostics and new therapeutics."
Between 2005 and 2011, the number of bio-nano firms nearly doubled to 507, with more than 100 of them emerging in North America alone, Maine added.