Cross-Over Thinking

Cross-Over Thinking

Photo by Eran Gilat Imaginatively applying ideas from one discipline to a completely different area is often the source of innovation and entrepreneurial success. In the Israeli life sciences industry, a good success story that was inspired by an external source is the Given Imaging camera capsule. The breakthrough medical device was invented by a scientist whose expertise was in developing video cameras that were placed on the tip of missiles. When Gabriel Iddan heard from a medical colleague about the difficulties gastroenterologists had pinpointing lesions in the spaghetti-like interior of the small intestine, he came up with idea of  … Read more

The Israel-US Connection

The Israel-US Connection

The Israeli and American biotechnology industries are quite closely intertwined, with collaborations ubiquitous in academia, the clinic and in the financial community. What seems to makes the interplay successful is that there is no fixed pattern- players on both sides change roles according to various needs and opportunities. For instance, the U.S. seems to be a bigger draw for academic studies in this relationship, but when it comes to clinical or industrial work or finance, companies will simply go where the best deal is. A good example is Prolor Biotech, a developer of therapeutic proteins that owes its origins to  … Read more

Can a Hollywood horror movie influence drug development?

Can a Hollywood horror movie influence drug development?

Warner Brothers has begun a publicity campaign for a new calamity film, called Contagion, scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Sept. 9. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, and made with cooperation from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the film is about a deadly flu pandemic in which millions die. With an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Elliot Gould, movie industry analysts are expecting Contagion to draw big crowds and earn Warner Bothers a profit on the $60 million it invested in the film. But is it possible that this scary movie  … Read more

Israeli Biotech Merges With Devices

Israeli Biotech Merges With Devices

Israeli Companies Like CollPlant Apply Sophisticated Biotechnologies to Device Industry The Israeli life sciences industry has shifted its focus from drugs to devices even though many of the underlying technologies have more in common with bio-pharma than with bio-med. Israeli researchers made their mark on the global scene early, through several blockbuster biopharmaceuticals, including the cancer drug Doxil, (invented at the Hebrew University) and multiple sclerosis drugs like beta-interferon (commercialized by Serono) and copaxone (commercialized by Teva Pharmaceuticals). Until about 15 years ago, VC investment, and the R&D talent that accompanied it, was drawn to developing biopharmaceuticals, while the medical  … Read more

Israel and Stem Cells

Israel and Stem Cells

In the Israeli stem cell arena – contrary to what many expected – adult stem cells (ASCs) seem to be outdoing the embryonic ones (ESCs). Israeli researchers were among the pioneering developers of ESC technologies, due in part to relatively unrestricted government and societal support. Unlike the US and many European countries, where political leaders opposed the use of human embryonic cells for research on the basis of Christian religious beliefs, in Israel, rabbinical authorities supported scientific exploration in this area for a positive reason, as well as for the lack of a negative one. Orthodox Jewish belief maintains that  … Read more