NEW YORK What is it about Moore’s Law that makes biologists drool?
According to one investor in biotech, Moore’s Law drives down the costs of reading and writing genetic codes. "The synthetic genetics people can write 100 million letters of genetic codes every 24 hours because of the ever-increasing power of computers," said Steve Jurvetson, managing director of investment firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. "The cost has decreased from $12 per base pair synthesis in 2000 to $2 in 2006. And it’s all due to" Moore's Law, he added.
Jurvetson addressed the NanoBusiness 2006 conference here on Wednesday (May 17).
Rather than scaling down components like a chip maker, nanotechnology being applied to biotech uses a bottom-up methodology. "There has been enormous progress in the top-down approach as evidenced today by microelectromechanical systems," said Jurvetson.
"On the other hand, biologists deal with crystals that are on the order of 100,000 atoms [measuring] 20 nanmometers on a side," he continued. What can be engineered synthetically borders on the “edge of chaos."
Jurvetson said this "intelligent design" approach will only increase with the sustainable power of Moore’s Law. And he predicted extension of Moore’s Law beyond its physics limits will yield organic hybrids, two of which are already commercially available. "Solar cells and most modern displays are examples of organic hybrids. But as we move to a renaissance in medicine with nanotech, matter becomes code," said Jurvetson.
His investment firm is bullish on biotech companies that are adopting nanotechnology. "Biology inspires using information technologies, and IT drives biotechnologies," said Jurvetson.