One in four life science innovations has Israeli roots, says expertMar. 14, 2016
Few people realize that more than one out of every four of the medicines, treatments, and technologies in use today have Israeli roots.
“Research in Israel is present in between 25% and 28% of the world’s successful biotech-based solutions,” according to Ruti Alon, a General Partner at Pitango Venture Capital and chairperson of the upcoming IATI-Biomed Conference, set to take place in Tel Aviv in May. “Many of the patents in pharmaceuticals that are now being used to treat cancer, heart problems, and much more were developed at Israeli institutions like Hebrew University or the Weizmann Institute,”
“All of the big pharma and health tech firms, from Merck to Pfizer to Sanofi, and many more, have R&D centers in Israel, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of start-ups that over the years have come up with unique solutions to some of the most pressing problems in biotech,” said Alon.
Some of those solutions and patents are part of the main treatments in some of the world’s most devastating diseases.
Exelon, for example, is a treatment for Alzheimer’s that helps patients cope with the disease and remain independent longer. Marketed by Novartis, the drug is based on research that was conducted at Hebrew University. Doxil, sold by Johnson and Johnson, effectively helps treat numerous cancers, and it, too, was developed at Hebrew U, along with researchers at Hadassah Medical Center. And, of course, there’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, developed at the Weizmann Institute and marketed by Israel’s own Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Many of Israel’s biotech and life science solutions were first introduced to the world at the annual IATI-Biomed Conference, now in its 15th year.
Israel’s biotech and life science industries are indeed thriving, according to numbers from conference sponsor IATI, the Israel Advanced Tech Industries group. Currently there are about 1,380 active life sciences companies in Israel, most of them (66%) less than a decade old. Ninety-eight new life sciences start-ups were established in Israel on average in each of the last seven years.
About 100 of those start-ups will show off their technologies and developments at the conference, which will take place over three days (May 24-26) in Tel Aviv. Because there is so much to cover, said Alon, the conference will be split into nine tracks, with top experts from Israel and around the world presenting research and papers on areas like immunoncology, medical robotics, neurological disorders, health IT, and even genetic editing.
“It’s a new format for conferences like this, but we think industry members, as well as the many visitors from abroad, will find it easier to work with, as it will give them a greater opportunity to engage with the areas they are specifically interested in,” said Alon.
Previous conferences have annually hosted over 6,000 industry senior executives, scientists, and engineers, including approximately 1,000 participants from over 45 countries.