Israeli Biotech Field Blossoming but Held Back by Slow Approval Process, Experts SayApr. 22, 2013
While Israel is fast becoming a leader in the biomedical and biotechnology fields, industry experts say the Israeli Health Ministry may be unduly hindering its growth.
Famously called a “start-up nation,” a nickname coined by Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their 2009 book about the Jewish state’s economic miracle, today Israel proudly parades that title, proving to be a fertile ground for thousands of tech start-ups. But Steve Rhodes, CEO and chairman of the Trendlines Group, a company that helps young Israeli companies developing medical devices, biotech and pharmaceutical products get off the ground, says the book overlooked certain industries. In the last 15-20 years, thousands of biotech and meditech companies have opened in Israel, and the country ranks fourth in the world for patents filed on medical devices, he says.
But all too often, says Rhodes, the Israeli Health Ministry takes an inordinate amount of time to approve companies for clinical trials. As a result, many companies travel to Eastern Europe or elsewhere to conduct this testing, losing Israel untold dollars.
“The system here is overly cautious,” Rhodes says in an interview with JNS.org. “I’m in favor of being careful, but when the FDA and the Europeans give approval faster than we do here, it really means there’s something not right in the process here. It’s a lost opportunity for Israel in many respects.”
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