Israel's Medical Startups Can Regrow Bones, But Can They Do So With Money?May. 12, 2013
Doctor Shai Meretzki can regrow bones.
Not that that makes him special; the medical technology to do it has been available for years. But Meretzki can take excess body fat, extract mesenchymal stem cells from it, and grow custom-made bone, outside the patient's body. It even comes complete with the patient's own blood vessels, and once grafted, it will grow the patient's own bone marrow.
Meretzki’s research group was the first in the world to grow cells in a 3-D culture. He went on to found Pluristem Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that develops off-the-shelf cell therapies for a variety of human diseases. That was 11 years ago. It's now a public company worth about $200 million and employing about 150 people in Haifa.
Meretzki’s story is just one among several medical startups in Israel that are increasingly pushing for their share of the global medical-devices market.
There are 656 medical device companies in Israel, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, which commissioned a 2012 study to learn more about the steadily growing industry with support from Global Business Intelligence, IVC, Ernst & Young and Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. It found that 35 of those companies are publicly traded and 18 are owned by foreign companies, which shows high international interest in Israel’s medical startup sector.
For the full feature story in International Business Times click here.