Nano-Terra Envisions Moneymaking Nanotech Ideas for Batteries, Kitty Litter, & More

Nano-Terra is sticking to its original strategy: Let other companies spend the money on manufacturing and marketing products that arise from its inventions, while making its money from licensing its nanotech creations and pulling in royalties on product sales. Now the Cambridge, MA-based startup is considering spinning off separate businesses to pursue more applications, including one to commercialize a novel particle to combat counterfeiting, Nano-Terra CEO Myer Berlow tells Xconomy.

Berlow’s company has attracted international attention for its suite of nanotechnology patents licensed mostly from Harvard University. This latest potential spin-off gives a glimpse at a new way the intriguing technology could be put to practical use in the marketplace.

The potential spin-off company would make the nano-sized particles for companies that would put trace amounts of them into products such as perfume, Berlow says. These particles, which Berlow says cannot be replicated, could be quickly detected in a bottle of perfume with a handheld device to show whether the product is a fake. And the structure of the particles—which are way too small to see with the naked eye—can be altered over time to throw off counterfeiters.

“What you have to be careful of—even though we are thinking about a number of [potential spin-offs]—is you have to make sure that you are staying within your area of expertise,” says Berlow, who is a former president of global marketing for Internet company America Online.

Spinning off companies would be a new approach for Nano-Terra to commercialize its technology. The firm, founded in early 2005, typically seeks corporate partnerships to apply its innovations in surface chemistry and materials science, many of which originated from lab of renowned Harvard chemist and company co-founder … Next Page »

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