Israeli biotech – one mega commercial opportunity

Following on from my previous posting on Jerusalem’s burgeoning biotech industry, today I paid a visit to the Biomed conference in Tel Aviv.

You had to ask. It was a muggy hot day in Tel Aviv. The city is located on a short flight to terror grounds either to the north in Lebanon or southwards in Gaza. The exhibition halls were not properly air conditioned. So what brought in these massive delegations from Japan, numerous European countries, Canada, around 10 American states and so on?

What is so special about Israeli biotech?

The answer is in the stats. Between the years 2004 and 2008, Israel’s life science exports nearly trebled to US$6.5 billion. There are a few very savvy international business people, who have found a country which knows how to deliver.

And there were numerous examples at the conference. Take Neowater, which has patented a method to modify the properties of water.

As my pet theme is Jerusalem, let me concentrate on Yissum, the tech transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Reading their brochure: –

  • Exelon, an Alzheimer medication, was sold to Novartis and generated sales of US$632 m in 2007
  • Doxil, for breast cancer, racked up US$417m in revenues for Johnson and Johnson.
  • Nearly 500 technologies have been licensed + 65 spin off companies.
  • 6 Nobel laureates. etc etc.

Beyond the Middle East conflicts and undistracted by global recessions, there is a phenomenal world of commercial opportunity waiting to be released in Israeli biotech. What has so far reached the balance sheets of the big players in only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. see you at Biomed 2010.

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One Comment on “Israeli biotech – one mega commercial opportunity”

  1. Michael Horesh Says:

    Local bourse adds biotech companies to tech benchmark – see http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1245184861547&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Shares of Israeli biotechnology companies have surged this year after Johnson & Johnson’s buyout of medical-equipment maker Omrix ignited takeover speculation and the government pledged money for research. Regulatory approvals overseas and positive test results have also boosted the shares.


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