Developments to Watch
FROM UZBEKISTAN WITH GENIUS
Back in 1989, U.S. entrepreneur Mats O. Ingemanson traveled to the Soviet Union to tap its scientific talent. Impressed with the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Tashkent, he subsequently founded Mitech Scientific Corp. in Flanders, N.J., to commercialize the academy's inventions.
Today, Mitech is poised to take off. The company has applied for U.S. patents on 11 products, ranging from a two-day wine fermenter to a water-desalination system. They all use specific bands of infrared radiation to speed up various processes--and thus save energy--without creating damaging levels of heat. The first idea to reach production, within 90 days, will be a dry-heat sterilizer for medical instruments. Ingemanson says it can sterilize in 3 minutes vs. 60 for an autoclave using the same 1,500 watts of power. And it will cost $2,500 vs. about $3,500 for an autoclave. Ingemanson figures Mitech will need $30 million to bring all the Uzbek-invented products to market. But he believes the company might achieve $1 billion in annual sales by the year 2000. Ingemanson has raised $700,000 so far, which along with his own investment is being used to launch the sterilizer.EDITED BY EMILY T. SMITH