GLOBAL – The potential dangers from product backlash and negative perception risks of nanotechnology development by corporations has been highlighted by the launch of a new Nanotechnology Index.

The index, from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, includes 15 quoted and unquoted companies and a watch list of eight development-stage companies involved in developing nanotechnology.

“Early testing reveals that some types of engineered nanoparticles may present risk in terms of human health and eco-toxicity,” says Innovest.

For investors this could result in ‘perception risks’ that could affect markets for nanomaterials and end products, and which could result in “product backlash”, it adds.

Innovest has reviewed around 200 public and 100 private companies for “qualities that we feel will be appropriate in offsetting potential perception risk and in contributing to responsible nanotechnology development”, it says.

The list was reduced to an index of 15 quoted companies and a research group, or watch list, of eight companies. The 15 include: Altair Nanotechnoloogies, ApNano, BASF, Biosante Pharmaceuticals, FEI Company, General Electric Company, Headwaters, JMAR Technologies, Lumera Corp, Nalco Holding Co, Plug Power, Spire Corp, Starpharma Group and Veeco Instruments.

The index is designed to identify companies that are contributing to a better understanding of the risks, but committed to delivering benefits from nanotechnology in medicine, clean water and energy, says Innovest.

The index is designed for monitoring, but not investment.