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Nanosys is the private company here in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto) that is trying to lead the nanotechnology revolution in the same way that Genentech led the biotech revolution.

Nanosys got ahead of itself a year or two ago, and was forced to withdraw its plans for an initial public offering (scroll down). But is now back, and has just raised $40 million to tide it over a little longer.

Just as Genentech licensed technology for use in all kinds of biotechnology…

applications, Nanosys wants to create patents to own the nanotech area. The risk, of course, is that it won’t focus enough on any one area to do a good job in any of them, while other companies will pick off niches and do well enough.

Note the wording of the release, our emphasis added:

Nanosys will use this funding for the ongoing development and manufacturing scale-up of products that incorporate its proprietary, inorganic nanostructures with integrated functionality for multiple industries. Current product development programs include chemical analysis chips for pharmaceutical drug research, fuel cells for portable electronics, nanostructures for displays and phased array antennas, non-volatile memory for electronic devices, and solid state lighting products.

The financing was led by El Dorado Ventures, but includes at least 16 other investors.