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.
Analysts: Israel to be attractive developed market
 Analysts: Israel to be attractive developed marketDeutsche Bank says although Jewish state will be alongside world's richest economies, its growth characteristics will keep more in line with emerging market Reuters  Published: 05.19.10, 10:28 / Israel Business    Israel will be an attractive investment after its upgrade from an emerging to a developed market this month in the MSCI Index, analysts say. Deutsche Bank said this week that although Israel will be alongside the world's richest economies, its growth characteristics will keep more in line with an emerging market. "(Israel) can offer active developed market investors the opportunity to enjoy emerging style growth and performance without having to invest off-index," the bank said in a report. Index compiler MSCI announced last June it would include Israel in its World Index and its EAFE Index, the third such upgrade in its history. When the May 27 reclassification takes effect, passive investors in emerging markets will have to sell Israel holdings. It may take time for developed market funds to take their place. "The Israeli economy is in relatively good shape. For a developed market investor, Israel would be quite an attractive place," said Andrew Brown, an investment manager at British firm Aberdeen whose emerging market fund has about $700 million in Israeli companies. "These stocks are of relatively good value," he told Reuters. "We will not rush to sell them." Foreign investors surveyed by Thomson Reuters Extel in March said the biggest challenge to the Israeli market would be the shift from comprising about 3% of MSCI's emerging markets index to some 0.4% of its developed market index. Fidelity International's Nick Price, portfolio manager of the Emerging Europe Middle East and Africa Fund, said the switch will not have any effect on his fund because of Israel's size. "I will stay with stocks that I like and I believe that most people will do the same," he said.  Top-heavy market A Citigroup report said $2.8 billion in passive outflows were expected from Israeli stocks with the change – but eventually would be more than offset by inflows of $3.6 billion. Foreign investors already hold nearly 30% of Israeli equities, mostly in top companies like Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Israel Chemicals, Bezeq Israel Telecom and the largest banks, Leumi and Hapoalim. UBS and Merrill Lynch also view the move as a short-term negative with a more positive long term. The Tel Aviv 25 index hit an all-time high last month of 1,237.85 points, buoyed by strong economic growth. It has eased back to 1,162 with the global decline in stocks. The country recovered relatively quickly from the global crisis, its economy expanding at an annualized 4.8% rate in the fourth quarter and 0.7% for all of 2009. The central bank predicts growth of 3.7% in 2010.  Israel was also invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this month. The Bank of Israel said that while there is a chance of an ebb in passive inflows, in previous upgrades there was no evidence of a significant drop in the volume of investment.
Israel doing big things with nano-materials
Israel doing big things with nano-materialsIsraeli scientists are making significant contributions to the advance of nano-technology, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.26 Oct 2010Applied Nanotech, one of the many companies presenting new products at the International Nanotechnology Conference, will highlight its nano-based copper ink technology. By David HaleviIsraeli high-tech has done some big things in the past - creating some of the most important advances in computer security and networking, social media, and telecommunications. Today, Israeli companies are set to do some little things - which may have an even bigger impact than some of those high-tech achievements.What Internet startups were to the past decade, nanotechnology will be to the next one, experts say - and Israel is already a world leader in development and deployment of applications based on this new science. Already, Israeli scientists have made significant contributions to the field, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.Among the applications Israeli start-ups have developed using nanotech are water purification membranes, agents for oral drug delivery, inkjet digital printing systems, diagnostic tools, holographic storage systems - and an 'e-beam on a chip,' which is similar to a laser beam, to be used for semiconductor manufacturing.Thanks to nanotech, for example, organ transplants may become a thing of the past, as special growth factors based on nanotechnology help grow healthy cells in an organ to replace unhealthy ones. Nanotechnology could also help to vastly reduce pollutants from internal combustion engines and could even develop elements that provide the taste of sugar in foods, without the calories and tooth decay that are part and parcel of the product today.The nanotechnology revolution is here, and moving forward rapidly, with a host of Israeli companies already producing applications based on this new science, which allows researchers to control matter on an atomic and molecular scale.Highlighting Israel's nano-accomplishmentsHighlighting Israel's accomplishments and research in the emerging nanotech field, the second annual International Nanotechnology Conference will be held in Tel Aviv in November. It will focus on innovations and business opportunities in the energy, water, environment, nano-material, nano-electronics, nano-photonics, nano-bio and nano-medicine fields.Investors seeking opportunities and companies from Israel and abroad will attend, showing off their nano-wares. Speakers will include the leading lights of the discipline from Israel and abroad. Among them will be the 2010 co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Professor Andre Geim, for his discovery and work with the nano-material graphene.The conference is being chaired by Nava Swersky-Sofer, who is one of the leaders of Israel's life-science industry and is the former CEO of the Hebrew University's tech transfer arm, Yissum; Mr. Dan Vilenski from the Israel National Nano-technology Initiative (INNI); and Prof. Arie Zaban from Bar-Ilan University."Israel is known worldwide as a center of knowledge and innovation in nano-technology and research in the nano field. Israel's achievements are at the forefront of a variety of the industrial fields, such as communications, electronics, computerization, security, medicine and life-sciences," says Swersky-Sofer.Israel is already on the international nanotech map, according to the INNI, one of the conference sponsors. The group lists about 80 large and small companies working in Israel's nanotech sector, along with more than 40 academic and governmental labs, employing some 300 researchers and scholars. The INNI states that Israel has the third-largest concentration of startup companies in the world, surpassed only by California's Silicon Valley and the Boston technology corridor.A survey conducted by INNI shows that the Technion employs 119 nano-researchers, followed by 55 at Tel Aviv University, 47 at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 43 at the Weizmann Institute of Science, 39 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and 30 at Bar-Ilan University. Since 2002, the number of nano-researchers in Israel has doubled. The two main scientific disciplines are chemistry (25.6%) and physics (19.5%). Most of the researchers (33%) focus on materials, followed by electronics and photonics (22%) and biotechnology (17%).Israel had a head-startIsrael is ahead of many other countries in this new field, because its researchers have been working in the nano sphere for years. Among the researchers is Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute. Tenne, who will chair a session at the conference, is best known for leading the group that discovered and studied the inorganic fullerene-like nanospheres and nanotubes, generally termed IF nanoparticles, considered a new class of nanomaterials. Tenne says that nanotech development suits the Israeli development model: "This is a small country, and nano-material research, of course, is done on a small scale. But the research can yield big results, and we expect that today's research will pay off handsomely in the coming years.""Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off," Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute.Israeli researchers have done a great deal of work in helping to discover new nano-materials, and Israel is by far the most advanced country in its neighborhood in nano-research. "You can tell how advanced a country is by the number of high-resolution electron microscopes a country has. We certainly don't have the resources that rich European countries like Germany and Holland have, but we've got quite enough for a country of our size. We're in a good spot in the middle, and our researchers take full advantage of the resources available," Tenne says.Tenne himself conducts ongoing nanotech research at the Weizmann Institute in both basic materials and applications, a combination that he says suits him well."Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off. Most of the first round of applications will probably be in the medical field, and we here in Israel have been making great strides in the area of nano-medical technology," Tenne relates.Manipulating small elements of matter as it does, the science of nanotechnology is also considered an art form. 'Nanoart' features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes, which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These scientific images, captured and processed with various artistic techniques, will be on display at the November conference.
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