No matter what target, indication or product a company is interested in developing, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have to deal with the molecular scale of biology, which is not directly visible. But being able to monitor what is happening in that tiny universe is critical, which is where Quantum Dot Corp. comes in.

"There's a common thread through drug discovery, diagnostics and research - you have to be able to see things," said Joel Martin, president and CEO of Quantum Dot, which has a technology that enables visualization of molecular events.