Hi! Sign in or Registration
Looking for Investors
Israeli Companies Map
Made in Israel Online Exhibition
Where biotech and high-tech meet
Author  Gali Weinreb

Executives in Israel for the MIXiii conference tell "Globes" about the future of medicine.

From Globs

2014 is positioned to go down in history as one of the stormiest years for biomed. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has risen sharply, by tens of percentage points, since the beginning of the year - a process that opened the door to dozens of IPOs - but has recently lost ground.

Pfizer is in talks to acquire AstraZeneca for more than $100 billion, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies continue to launch groundbreaking products, and the field of medical technology is in the throes of a revolution.

Senior industry executives from around the world who participated in the MIXiii Israel Innovation Conference (which combined the Israel Advanced Technology Industries annual international biomed conference with a high-tech conference for the first time), spoke to “Globes” about the latest breakthroughs, gave forecasts for the future, and explained what brought them to Israel.

According to Pitango Venture Capital General Partner and MIXiii Biomed Co-Chair Ruti Alon, “The forecast in the field of biomed is fundamentally complicated, due to of the interaction between political trends, such as globalization and different modes of distribution that bring Western diseases to new countries, and technological trends, such as genomics.

“In light of this, we can expect continued pressure to lower prices, significant changes in marketing systems, broader use of Internet, and the continued rise in prominence of the consumer as a factor in decision making. In Israel, there is a deep understanding of what is required to develop HealthIT products, that will connect the medical community.”

DFJ Tel Aviv Venture Partners General Partner and MIXiii Biomed Co-Chair Dr. Benny Zeevi said: “I believe the transitions from hospital care to remote care, from general care to personalized care, from treatment-based care to more preventive care, and higher patient involvement in treatment, will translate into a more pleasant patient experience, and greater commitment to maintaining therapeutic regimes as a result.”

”More holistic diagnosis and care”

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) seems to be one of the less familiar among the 20 big companies, but only because it is not publicly traded. The company has 50,000 employees, and invests 20% of its revenue in R&D, with an emphasis on internal R&D.

The company has, in the past, been in talks to acquire an Israeli company, and has recently established a branch in Israel, headed by Orna Fiat Steinberger. The branch is responsible for running the company’s clinical trials in Israel.

The company was established 129 years ago. It was founded by, and is managed still today, by the Boehringer family, and Ingelheim is the German city in which the company was founded. Today, the company has a rich pipeline of products. Chief Medical Officer Prof. Klaus Dugi points in particular to the new cancer drug Volasertib, a small molecule inhibitor that prevents cancer cells from dividing by attacking the PKL1 protein. The company is testing the product for leukemia treatment, and is currently in Phase II clinical trials.

According to Dugi, the most significant scientific breakthrough of recent years is the recognition of the role that the mix of live organisms living in and on our bodies has in causing and preventing illness. “Today, using genome sequencing technology, we can know precisely what the genomes of our intestinal bacteria are. These genes, which are not exactly part of our bodies, apparently affect not only diseases of the intestine, but others as well. This knowledge can lead to entirely different medical diagnoses and treatments from those we know today - more holistic diagnosis and care.”

Dugi claims that the patent cliff troubles the industry, but not BI, and it is likely to be less problematic for the industry in the future. “In a world where most newly approved products are biological, which are harder to duplicate, it is possible that patent expiry will be regarded differently, and less seriously, in the future.”

The real industry crisis is not an R&D crisis, in his opinion is, but rather a budget crisis - governments are unable to maintain the health budgets necessary to create significant continued growth in biotech and pharmaceuticals, and drugs will soon need to prove that they save not only lives and suffering, but also money (as is the case for medical devices today). In order to do this, it will be necessary to improve existing patient monitoring data systems, and to match the best treatment to each patient.

Fiat Steinberger says that: “The fact that BI is a private company allows it to invest in R&D without thinking about how the analysts will look at the bottom line next quarter, or even next year, and, therefore, we have many long-term plans.” The company has 90 research projects, and it classifies ten products (in eight categories) as “pre-launch,” which means they are either in advanced Phase II with good results in previous trials, post-Phase III, or they have already been approved.

BI also has a venture capital fund that seeks out biomed companies to invest in, including companies in early stages of development that are not yet suitable for traditional venture capital funds. In 2014, the fund invested in a company called Metabomed, which at the same time received investments from the Merck Serono incubator in Yavne, from the Pontifax fund, and from the Technion technology transfer company. The company deals in treatments based on cancer metabolism - treatment through the resources that the cancer consumes.

Using stem cells to regenerate tissue

Over the past decade, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has gone from being a Japanese pharmaceutical company to being a global giant, competing head to head with the biggest global players. The company’s Israel office is headed by Arie Kramer. Following its acquisitions of US company Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a cancer treatment, and veteran European pharmaceutical company Nycomed, Takeda has become one of the most significant global powers in the pharmaceutical industry.

Despite the acquisitions, Takeda, like all the major pharmaceutical companies, has been forced to contend with the patent cliff: the expiry of patents on leading products, while R&D fails to produce new products at the expected rate.

“The patent cliff troubles the pharmaceutical companies and the investors,” said Takeda Head of R&D Tetsuyuki Maruyama, who was tasked with finding a solution to the problem, and has succeeded in doing so.

“It seems that the worst is behind us,” he says, “And I believe that the industry has learned from it: to place less emphasis on bestselling drugs, and to vary the product offering.

“A decade ago, large pharmaceutical companies avoided anything ‘difficult,’ like cancer, or rare diseases. The smaller companies proved that these are attractive markets, and now the big companies are scurrying to close the gap. We believe that this will happen also for the brain, so as larger companies leave this field, we focus on it.”

What are the developments that are likely to have the most significant impacts on the future of medicine?

“I believe in a combination of drugs and antibodies, where the antibodies lead the drugs directly to specific targets. Our company has such a product that should reach the market soon, after having waited for years for the right combination.

“Using such technology, together with products that use the immune system to treat cancer, I believe that the medical world will actually reach a cure for cancer, and I am not the only one who believes this.

“Another exciting technological development is the bacTRAP platform, which we loved so much that we bought the company that developed it. This is technology that allows us to look at changes in gene expression in specific cells in tissue that has many different kinds of cells, where each one expresses genes a little differently.

“Using this focus, we can develop far more accurate drugs. This is true for many areas, but most of all the brain, which has a mix of cells. I believe that the field of regenerative medicine, using stem cells to regenerate sick tissue, will lead to breakthroughs.”

Maruyama notes that Takeda owns a group called New Frontiers Science Team, which seeks technologies in advanced development stages and whose representatives were at the conference as well.

What are the most interesting products in your pipeline?

“We just now launched our first cancer drug based on a combination of antibodies and drugs. We are waiting on the launch of a new drug to treat Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, which is most effective for patients for whom existing treatments don’t work. We are focusing on the digestive system.”

“Israel has an ideal mix”

Becton Dickinson (BD) is a medical device supplier that deals in a broad range of products, including hospital lab equipment. The company specializes in cheap medical equipment that is manufactured in large quantities.

“I have been with the company for 11 years,” said BD Director of Business Development Al Lauritano, “First, I headed the life science new business incubator in North Carolina, and I have basically held the same job ever since, only the job has grown.”

Incubator? That must have been revolutionary, at the time.

“We had an incubator from 1998 to 2008, into which we accepted mostly companies from academic institutions, but it wasn’t so successful. The business model was that after our initial investment, more investors were meant to join in, financial institutions, but, in order to attract such investors, the companies were forced to change their business models in directions that interested us less, as strategic investors. So we didn’t get what we wanted out of them.

“We never really shut the incubator down, but we became very picky. In the beginning of this year we decided to establish a ‘virtual incubator.’ We won’t host the companies, instead, we will support them wherever they are. We won’t only invest money - we will also send our people. That way, we will be able to get to know the companies well.”

In the coming year, BD will announce its first incubator company. “This is one of the reasons I am in Israel” says Lauritano.

“We believe that Israel has an ideal mix of entrepreneurs, technology, financing, and operational infrastructure, including the support of the chief scientist. In April, we announced our participation in a collaborative project between the chief scientist and the international corporations. This summer, we will put out a call for opportunities in Israel,” says Lauritano, who worked at Israeli company D-Pharm in the past.

Lauritano is particularly interested in combinations of information technologies in daily medical products. “Therefore, it makes sense for us that the conference brings high-tech and biotech together,” he says. He notes that many BD products are in competitive markets, where the product is manufactured by the millions (syringes and catheters, for example).

“How can we bring added value to such a product? Adding information technology in or around it is one method. We see that hospitals need to improve their workflows, in order to prevent mistakes in drug administration and to make sure that patients follow through on the treatments that are prescribed to them. So we want as much information as possible to be entered into medical records automatically from our medical devices.”

In the future, the company intends to help healthy people as well, “For example, diabetics, who are at the forefront of the population that monitors and manages its health regularly, every single day. Why shouldn’t all the healthy people, or people with chronic diseases, monitor themselves in such a manner in order to maintain optimal health? Our goal is to make a business of this.”

What is the most interesting product you have launched in the past two years?

“We surprised the industry this year when we announced that were opening a generic drug department. We have always had syringes that added value to drugs, and now, instead of selling them only to companies, we will incorporate generic drugs ourselves.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 26, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

 Taken from Globes - Where biotech and high-tech meet

More Articles of Home
Future Technologies in today's labs
Technology and Innovation Making a Better Tomorrow at Research@Intel EventNEWS HIGHLIGHTSToday marks the 11th annual Research@Intel event, showcasing 20 research projects from around the world, each exploring technologies to enrich lives with smarter cities, homes and offices, and with smarter ways to shop, communicate and drive.Intel Labs is developing some of the world's most promising technological advancements, both on its own and in conjunction with leading academic institutions worldwide.Intel Labs helps pave the way for future innovations through technologies that support life enrichment, easier access to big data, and a more connected computing experience.SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2013 – Car tail lights saving lives, immersive displays allowing photos to tell their own story, personalized shopping experiences. These are just a few of the innovations presented by Intel Corporation today at its 11th annual Research@Intel event, a showcase of the most innovative new research spawned from Intel's internal efforts and external collaborations. Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, kicked off today's event by highlighting some of the 20 groundbreaking research projects on exhibition today.Supplementing its own robust and diverse research efforts, Intel Labs two years ago deployed a unique model of direct collaboration with the world's leading academic researchers, creating a global network of seven Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTCs) and six Intel Collaborative Research Institutes (ICRIs). Each center has built its own vibrant community of researchers to speed advances in embedded, cloud, social and secure computing, among other fields. Today's event showcases a sample of these research advances – and many from Intel's own labs – across these and many other sectors, including visual and context-aware computing as well as significant progress in fields such as big data."The majority of our research is conducted by Intel's own researchers but we are delighted by the quality and quantity of research coming out of the ISTCs and ICRIs," said Rattner. "Importantly, the deeply collaborative structure of these engagements is based on an open IP model benefiting not just Intel and researchers, but the high technology industry and human society at large."Research@Intel Demo ShowcaseDemos at the Research@Intel event are housed in four different zones. These zones include:Enriching Lives: Developing computing experiences that simplify, enhance and enrich people's lives. This research is intended to help people be understood, expressive and free. One demonstration, titled "Be Meaningful," using "Shelf Edge Technology (SET)," can help detect a person's presence in a store and create a more meaningful, personalized shopping experience. If a car needs an air filter, for example, SET could use the vehicle's service records to alert the owner about the need for a specific filter when the owner enters an auto parts store. If a person has peanut allergies, SET could warn of potentially dangerous products. If a person plans to cook salmon for dinner, SET could recommend wines to best compliment the dish.The Data Society: Unlocking the power of data for everyone. In addition to pushing the boundaries of what institutions can do with big data, Intel Labs has put an emphasis on the exploration of meaningful data exchange among individuals. Researchers are looking at ways to adapt the digital infrastructure to allow people to better capture, move and work with digital information easily and effectively. In a demonstration titled, "Vibrant Data Communities," Intel Labs researchers combine public and personal data with context-aware algorithms to identify and present the most useful information to individuals. For example, air quality sensors in a neighborhood could help steer a person clear of pollen hotspots in during allergy season.Intelligent Everything: Innovations that transform inanimate objects by adding sensing capabilities, helping enable sustainable and smart living experiences. In one demonstration, researchers are working on easy-to-use tools to automate contextual cues with already-existing sensors so that a home behaves usefully in response to events and a family's unique needs. The demonstration shows how to easily link a Web camera and a music system to act as a home security system and to link a Web camera that receives contextual cues from a baby in a crib and an alarm by the parents' bed to act as a baby monitor.Tech Essentials: Technology building blocks – including circuits, architecture and software – that provide a foundation for all of the areas above. For example, the "Protecting Sensor Data" demonstration uses Intel hardware and software to prevent malicious parties for accessing personal information recorded by cameras, microphones and GPS locators embedded in mobile devices.To get the latest Intel Innovation news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/research, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
Israel-International Agreements
International Agreements  Following is a list of several economic international agreements Israel is signed on, divided by type of agreement.Note: This page contains only major economic agreements related to or under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (Soon)Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT)Financial Protocols (Soon)Free Trade Area (FTA) Agreements and Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) AgreementsFunds for Cooperation in Industrial R&D AgreementsBilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) Israel provides a legal framework for protecting Israeli private overseas investments through a global network of Bilateral Treaties for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Foreign Investments which express the signatories' commitment to the promotion of bilateral investment.Read MoreInvestment Agreements are intended to protect and encourage investment by reducing political risks associated with the investment climate in foreign markets. The agreement guarantees the repatriation of both initial investment and returns in case of nationalizations, expropriations, and damages resulting from armed conflict, and provides foreign investors with treatment equitable to that received by local, and third party, investors. Furthermore, the agreement assures the free transferability of investment related funds convertible at market exchange rates. The agreements' significance stems from the arbitration clause which commits national governments to unconditional international arbitration in case of disputes with private investors. Disputes are to be brought before ICSID- the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an organization dedicated to the resolution of legal disputes, operating as part of the World Bank Group.ICSIDIsrael's BIT Background Israel's strategy of globalization and liberalization led to a process of specialization and increased efficiency in which uncompetitive industries were relocated to emerging markets, allowing the economy to focus on its core sectors. Furthermore, Foreign Exchange liberalization enabled Israeli enterprises to invest in, and establish subsidiaries abroad, in both the manufacturing and services sectors. These reforms, implemented in the 1990's and early 2000's, including liberalization, deregulation and global integration, increased the Israeli economy's growth rate, consequentially, causing a substantial increase in the stock of Israeli outward investment. Israel views its Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements, along with its Double Taxation and Free Trade Agreements, as a prime tool for the achievement of economic growth via integration with global real and financial markets.Israel negotiates Bilateral Investment Treaties on the basis of a model text from 2003 which replaced the model text from 1994. For further information: Model BIT Text 2003New developments in the 2003 Model BIT Text Overview of Bilateral Investment TreatiesFor additional information, please contact: Mr. Ilan SosnitskyDirectorBilateral DivisionInternational Affairs DepartmentMinistry of FinanceIsraelilans@mof.gov.ilAgreements: AlbaniaArgentinaArmeniaAzerbaijanBelarusBulgariaAmending ProtocolChina, People's Republic ofCroatiaTreaty in force, negotiations for amendment, resulting from Croatia's ascension to the E.U. are underway.CyprusCzech Republic El Salvador Estonia Ethiopia Georgia Germany Guatemala Hungary Treaty terminated on June 26, 2007; existing investments are protected for ten years after termination.India KazakhstanKorea, Republic of Latvia Lithuania Macedonia, FYRUnder negotiationMoldova Mongolia Montenegro PeruUnder negotiationPoland RomaniaAmending ProtocolSerbia Slovakia SloveniaTreaty terminated on June 26, 2007; existing investments are protected for ten years after termination.South AfricaPending ratification by South Africa, Israel ratified agreement on March 30, 2009.Thailand Turkey Turkmenistan UkraineNew treaty signed on November 24, 2010, ratification pending.Uruguay UzbekistanVietnamUnder negotiation 
Biotech - Tailor-made for Israel
 Biotech - Tailor-made for Israel2 Nov 2010Israel creates more medical devices per capita than any other, and earns $3 billion a year from biotech - it's an innovative and skilled industry that suits the country perfectly.    Scientists throughout Israel's universities and hospitals are developing innovative new biotechnologies. (Photo courtesy Hadassah Medical Center)       --> Blockbuster prescription drugs sold worldwide that treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases derive from Israeli biotechnology. Israel creates more medical devices per capita than any other country, and its life sciences exports earn more than $3 billion a year.Israeli research is at the forefront of the emerging fields of stem-cell therapy and genomics, and two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, the first to Profs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and the second to Prof. Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science number among the many awards bestowed on the country's biotech scientists.Israeli professor Ada Yonath, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2009, for her work instem cell research (Photo courtesy Weizmann Institute of Science)The pace of innovation, development and growth in Israel's biotechnology sector is unparalleled. Israel's biotech industry is the most aggressive in the world, with more startups per capita then any other country. Its 180 biotech companies - each built on a combination of academic excellence, a highly-skilled workforce, cutting-edge technological inventiveness and entrepreneurial daring - are creating therapeutic products, diagnostic tools and revolutionary drug-delivery techniques benefiting people all over the world.Tailor-made for IsraelBiotechnology, the science which applies breakthroughs in molecular biology and immunochemistry to diagnosis and therapy, was born in the late 1970s. In many ways, it is tailor-made for Israel, being rooted in innovation and perseverance; a highly educated workforce; the lessons of military service; intimate links between researchers and entrepreneurs; and US capital and markets and, particularly, the US 1985 free trade agreement with Israel.• Innovation and perseverance: A small country with a population of only seven million and few natural resources, Israel's economy is necessarily one of innovation and perseverance. Demanding conditions - first in agriculture, then in defense and from there throughout its economy - set the stage for dramatic economic growth, as Israel transformed itself from a developing to a developed nation, and from an economy based on agriculture to one based on knowledge.• A highly educated workforce: With seven world-class universities, Israel is one of the most highly educated countries on the globe. Almost a quarter of its workforce has university degrees, and 12 percent of these have advanced degrees. Among the 750,000 people who immigrated to Israel from the Former Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991 were hundreds of highly skilled engineers. They have enhanced Israel's technological talent pool, giving the country the world's highest rate of scientists per capita (one in 200), 39 percent of whom specialize in life sciences.• The lessons of military service: Mandatory military service in Israel equips its young people with the connections, management skills and action-oriented entrepreneurial mindset critical for technological development. • Intimate links between researchers and entrepreneurs: Israeli universities were among the first worldwide to develop technology transfer organizations - professional companies tasked with helping Israeli researchers to commercialize their academic research by connecting them with national and multi-national companies.• US capital and markets and, particularly, its 1985 free trade agreement with Israel: The US as a trading partner helped fuel the high-tech boom of the 1980s and 1990s, which, in turn, created the conditions for Israel's biotechnology cluster.Birth of biotech in IsraelIsrael whimsically dates the birth of its biotechnology industry to 1936. This was when chemist Chaim Weizmann, later to be the country's first president, developed a process that produced acetone from the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum. It took almost six more decades, however, until the modern Israeli biotechnology industry was born, on the heels of the high-tech boom.While Israeli biotechnology embraces the whole biotech sphere - from animal vaccines and diagnostics to plant tissue culture, bioreactors, seeds, diagnostics and biopesticides - its emphasis is firmly on medical agents, diagnostics and cell- and tissue-therapies. Some 60 percent of Israeli biotech focuses on human therapeutics, including drug discovery, cell therapy and genetics. A further 20% of Israeli biotech companies produce diagnostic kits.Top-selling prescription drugs based on Israeli researchThe best-known and most successful medication developed in Israel is Copaxone®, a breakthrough treatment that significantly reduces the severity of clinical episodes in multiple sclerosis patients, also making them less frequent. Developed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and the Weizmann Institute of Science, it is the world's leading MS therapy, approved in 52 countries, with global sales reaching $2.8 billion in 2009.  The most successful medicationdeveloped in Israel is Copaxone, by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries,which is used to treat multiple sclerosis. Azilect, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease, was based on research from the Technion Institute of Technology. (Photo courtesy of H. Lundbeck A/S)Teva's first proprietary drug, Copaxone®, is today responsible for a third of the company's profits. Teva is one of the 15 biggest international pharma companies in the world and one of the largest generic drug manufacturers. The company employs more than 35,000 people in 50 countries, and earned almost $14 billion in 2009. It is increasingly expanding into cutting-edge patentable therapies.Ailect® (rasagiline) is another Teva product. Based on research at the Technion Institute of Technology, it combats Parkinson's disease, both as initial therapy and, later in the disease, in conjunction with L-dopa. Its 2009 sales reached $175 million.Exelon® is a medication for Alzheimer's disease that reduces symptoms, enabling patients to remain independent and 'themselves' for longer. Originating in research at the Hebrew University and developed and commercialized by Novartis, its global sales in 2009 were more than $954 million.Doxil® is a chemotherapy agent used in treating different types of leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and cancers of the bladder, breast, stomach, lung, ovaries and thyroid. Based on research at the Hadassah Medical Center, it was sold to Johnson & Johnson, and recorded global sales of $430 million in 2009.Regenerative Medicine Scientific regulation in Israel is informed by Judaism's emphasis on the saving of life. The country's relatively liberal approach to stem cell research for therapeutic purposes derives from this tradition, which has positioned Israeli scientists among stem-cell research's pioneers and kept them at the heart of the regenerative medicine map, helped by a government-sponsored research consortium spanning academia and industry. While no stem-cell medication yet exists anywhere, several are on the way from Israeli companies.The four-year-old Jerusalem start-up Cellcure Neurosciences is starting clinical trials in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in over-50s in the Western world, which is estimated to affect some 30 million people.The disease is caused by the dysfunction, degeneration and death of pigment-including retina cells, which lie between the retina's photoreceptors and the nourishing blood vessels at the back of the eye. Cellcure creates healthy retinal pigment cells from human embryonic stem cells, and injects them into the eye to replace the dying cells.Jerusalem-based Gamida Cell has developed stem cells from umbilical cord-blood to treat blood cancers, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders and the hematological disease neutropenia. Its lead product is StemEx, which was given FDA Fast Track Designation in mid-2010. It is now being tested in international Phase III clinical trials as an alternative to bone marrow transplant in patients with advanced blood cancers, who are unable to find a matched donor. BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics in Petah Tikva is a leading developer of adult stem cell technology and therapy. It has created a stem cell treatment for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and Parkinson's disease based on autologous bone-marrow-derived adult stem-cells. In a first clinical trial, conducted at the Hadassah Medical Center, ALS patients will be re-implanted with stem cells taken from their own pelvis.Drugs derived from living cellsUplyso, a medicine for Gaucher's disease based on the enzyme taliglucerase alfa, is an example of the ongoing push into biologics - drugs derived from living cells rather than from chemicals. It was developed by Protalix Biotherapeutics, a company that began life in 1994 within Israel's Meytav Technological Incubator, graduating to become an independent publicly held company with a market capitalization of more than $700 million, trading on both the NYSE Amex Exchange and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.It recently sold the rights to this experimental Gaucher's medication for $60 million to the New York-based Pfizer, the world's largest-selling pharmaceutical firm.Neuroprotective drugsD-Pharm Ltd. (TASE: DPRM) is focused on the design and development of innovative drugs for the treatment of serious, potentially life-threatening medical conditions that affect the brain.The Company has developed two unique platform technologies that generate lipid-like medicines. These technologies use cell-membrane specific mechanisms and influence lipid-related biochemical pathways, for therapeutic effect.The Company has two products in advanced clinical development: a Phase III product, DP-b99, for treatment of acute ischemic stroke; a Phase II product, DP-VPA, for the treatment of complex partial epilepsy, migraine and bipolar disease. D-Pharm is an integrated drug development organization with headquarters, research and development laboratories, and pilot manufacturing plant in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park, Rehovot.Computational Biotechnology  Martin Gerstel, chairman of the board at Israeli computational biotech company Compugen, and a major figure in Israel's biotech industry. Compugen is a leading drug and diagnostic product candidate discovery company. Unlike traditional high throughput trial and error experimental based discovery, Compugen's discovery efforts are based on in silico (by computer) product candidate prediction and selection utilizing a broad and continuously growing infrastructure of proprietary scientific understandings and predictive platforms, algorithms, machine learning systems and other computational biology tools to address important unmet therapeutic and diagnostic needs - either for Compugen or its partners.Compugen's growing number of collaborations covering the further development and commercialization of Compugen discovered product candidates all provide Compugen with potential milestone payments and royalties on product sales or other forms of revenue sharing.  These collaborations may be entered into before product candidate discovery is undertaken pursuant to "discovery on demand" type arrangements, or with respect to existing product candidates, collaborations can be initiated prior to or at the proof of concept stage, or after additional preclinical activities have been undertaken by Compugen.GenomicsGenomics uses the RNA system within living cells to control which genes are active and how active they are. Rosetta Genomics, based in Rehovot, is using RNA-based technology to develop a wide range of diagnostic tests for cancers and women's health indications.Quark Pharmaceuticals has created a fully-integrated drug development platform to deliver RNA molecules to the eye, ear, kidney, lung, spinal cord and bone marrow, where they can block the action of faulty genes.DiagnosticsDiagnostics, particularly monoclonal antibody-based test kits, were among Israel's first commercial biotechnology successes. Aided by Israel's vast clinical medicine resources, new diagnostic tests are brought rapidly from the lab into the hospital ward and to market. Savyon Diagnostics was an earlier entry in this field in 1983, when Ben-Gurion University researchers developed a serological diagnostic kit to test for the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia (‘clap').They formed the company a year later, and brought their test-kit to market in 1989. Savyon has gone on to develop and market tests for urinary tract infections and for HIV.Orgenics, founded in 1983, produces 22 patented easy-to-use, stand-alone, ELISA-based ImmunoComb kits that test for Chlamydia, hepatitis A and B, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, rubella, Helicobacter pylori and AIDS, as well as non-wipe strips for measuring blood glucose levels.Zer Science-Based Industries specializes in diagnostic tests related to fertility. Its Single-Step pregnancy test requires just drops of urine to give an accurate result within five minutes, even before the first missed menstrual period.Future blockbustersOne example among many is Glassia, the first and only high purity, liquid, ready-to-use α1-proteinase inhibitor for adults with inherited emphysema resulting from α1-antitrypsin deficiency.Kamada, the 20-year-old biopharmaceutical concern that invented Glassia, entered an exclusive distribution and manufacturing agreement for its production in mid-2010 with the global health-care company Baxter International.Biotech and electronics One of the best-known diagnostic devices developed in Israel is the Pillcam, created by Given Imaging. The pill-sized camera can be swallowed, and is used to diagnose stomach disorders.Among Israel's strengths is the interdisciplinary nature of its R&D. This underlies the creation and development of out-of-the-box products. One of the best-known and among the most important and successful life sciences developments to come out of Israel in the past decade, is the Pillcam from Given Imaging, a disposable pill-sized camera encased in a capsule and used to diagnose stomach disorders after being swallowed. Easily ingested, the capsule moves naturally and painlessly through the gastrointestinal tract, wirelessly transmitting to a portable recorder as it goes, to provide the physician with high-quality images on a computer workstation.Financing Israel's biotechIsrael's biotechnology track record is strong. Companies that have commercialized their products and been publicly listed do exceptionally well - testifying to their excellent science.The process of scaling up biotech R&D to early production and beyond, however, is a high-risk undertaking. With only one in 250 compounds making it from preclinical development to market (and taking perhaps seven years and $500 million to do so), the major brake on Israel's biotechnology cluster is the lack of an asset-intensive infrastructure.Investment is in especially short supply for the so-called Valley Of Death phase - the gap between very early stage investment (usually academic research funds), and easier-to-obtain investment for the clinical study phase which, although more costly, is correspondingly more certain than early-stage technologies. Government help Israel's government supports a spectrum of programs to help start-ups survive the difficult stages between proof of feasibility and final success. They include R&D grants from the Chief Scientist's Office (since the early 1990s); the Magnet framework that brings companies and researchers together to develop novel generic technologies, underwriting up to 65% of the budget (since 1994); a National Committee for Biotechnology tasked with developing and promoting biotechnology in Israel (established in 1995); Bioplan 2000, which created dedicated biotech incubators to bridge the gap in funding, infrastructure and managerial talent; naming biotechnology a National Project and creating infrastructure centers which give researchers access to essential equipment and knowhow (2002); and, most currently, a generous Grants Program administered by the Israel Investment Center; an Automatic Tax Benefits program administered by the Tax Authorities, offering foreign investors unique advantages; and finally, deignating biotechnology a Preferred Sector.Academic research funding Israel's biotech research at its universities and medical schools is the foundation of the industry. Dedicated biotechnology departments are rare anywhere, but there are three among Israel's seven main universities. Biotech research is funded from the annual $140 million research budget at Israel's universities and is comprised of external competitive research grants (36%); the regular budget of the universities (36%); and industry and government research grants and contracts (28%).Technology transfer Israel has 12 technology transfer organizations, seven of them university-based and five in its leading research hospitals. They are highly effective: the Hebrew University's Yissum, for example, founded in 1964, generates more revenue than its counterparts at MIT, Harvard or NYU in its management and licensing of thousands of patents developed within the institution. More successful still is the Weizmann Institute's Yeda, which has been named the world's third most profitable technology transfer organization.IncubatorsBased on Israel's high-tech experience, incubators have been created to nurture young biotech companies. There are both public and private incubator organizations, but all offer fledgling entrepreneurs skilled and experienced management, suitable R&D facilities, technical, financial, administrative and logistic support, administrative services (secretarial, accounting, legal, acquisition) and business guidance. The Technological Incubators Program, established in 1991 for high-tech and administered by the Chief Scientist's Office, includes a number of biotech startups. BiolineRx was set up in 2003 by Teva, Hadassah's technology transfer company Hadasit and two leading venture capital funds as a clinical-stage, publicly-traded, biopharmaceutical development company. It licenses promising early-stage projects and develops them as far as Phase I clinical trials. Rad-Biomed Accelerator is another interface between biomedical research and Israel's biomedical industry. It provides physical infrastructure, seed capital, business development and a wide range of related services to help entrepreneurs establish companies that will join the flourishing Israeli biomedical industry. International partnersThroughout most of biotech's history, small companies have been the hotbed of innovation. These small firms, however, generally lack the development capital to fund the costly clinical trials and launch of new therapeutics. Biotech has, therefore, long depended on partnerships with large, profitable pharmaceutical companies.For Israel, this paradigm means that the fruits of Israeli research go largely to foreign companies - with the large partner selling the final product and capturing the lion's share of the profits.The unraveling of interferon's mechanisms and isolation of the human Interferon-beta gene, for example, which began at the Weizmann Institute, was eventually sold to Swiss pharmaceutical giant Ares-Serono Group in 1979.Growing numbers of Israeli companies today, however, are searching for funding that will allow them to develop their own intellectual property, rather than sell to the multinational pharmaceutical companies.Venture capital Israel's venture capital (VC) industry, born in the late 1980s, received a major boost in 1993, when the government launched the company Yozma to help finance high-tech and, later, biotech startups.During the 1990s, local venture capital companies that specifically targeted biomedicine were formed. Medica, Columbine, Innomed of Jerusalem Global Ventures, Denali and Vitalife were among the first. ontifax, 7 Health Ventures and Poalim Medical III followed.With most of these funds now fully invested (or no longer active), local investment in life sciences today comes largely from general VCs, not dedicated to biotech.Clal Biotechnology Industries (an Israeli investment company but not a VC) has a portfolio of 16 young biotech firms. A number of foreign VC investors have targeted Israel's life sciences in recent years - among them NGN Capital, Onset Ventures, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, Three Arch Partners and Ziegler Meditech Orbimed, a US firm that invests in the healthcare sector and has been active in Israel for the past decade, expanded its investment team into Israel in April 2010.  
up


Last Articles


Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2015 Jun 14
Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech From Globs Technology companies are looking for creativ...
Published by Dafna Barmeli-Golan
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Aug 31
World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv From Globs Last year, Rami Levy joined BTI, the g...
Published by Amiram Barkat
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up. From Globs Exactly three years ago,...
Published by Roy Goldenberg
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Executives in Israel for the MIXiii conference tell "Globes" about the future of medici...
Published by Gali Weinreb