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Israel Health & Medicine:
Medical Research & Development

Health & Medicine: Table of Contents | General Overview | Magen David Adom

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Israel has made significant theoretical and practical contributions to the biotechnology revolution and has developed an advanced infrastructure of medical and paramedical research as well as bioengineering capabilities. Clinical medicine and biomedical research account for over half of all scientific publications. The country's industrial sector has increased its activities in the medical field to capitalize on its extensive knowledge base.

Israel is known globally as a science and tech-innovator, and health/life sciences make up approximately 50% of research done in Israel. Medical companies worldwide look to Israel for investment opportunities. Israeli life science and health research companies raised over $1.4 billion on the NASDAQ in 2014, and Israeli companies accounted for 10% of all Independent Public Offerings of biotech life science companies. Global health conglomerates like Johnson & Johnson, Philips, and Carestream all have research and development centers in Israel.

Local scientists have developed methods for producing a human growth hormone and interferon, a group of proteins effective against viral infections. Genetic engineering, including cloning, has resulted in a wide spectrum of diagnostic kits based on monoclonal antibodies, along with other microbiological products.

Sophisticated medical equipment for both diagnostic and treatment purposes has been developed and marketed worldwide, such as computer tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, ultrasound scanners, nuclear medical cameras and surgical lasers. Other recent innovations include a controlled-release liquid polymer to prevent accumulation of tooth plaque; a device to reduce both benign and malignant swellings of the prostrate gland; and the use of botulin to correct eye squint.

Israel has a booming life science and technologies sector, providing the foundation for critical research and development to answer the world's most pressing medical questions. The small country is currently home to more than 1,200 life science technology companies, with an average of 40 new ones being founded in Israel each year. Israeli life science exports topped $8 billion in 2013, and a majority of the companies (60%) are involved in medical device manufacturing or healthcare information technologies. There are more than 500 medical device exporters operating in Israel.

Recent Developments

  • March 2016: Israeli startup Biofeed is involved in helping fight the spread of the Zika virus, which can cause dangerous birth complications and defects including microcephaly, calcium deposits in the infant's brain, and general brain swelling. The Zika virus is spread by theĀ Aedes aegypti mosquito, and Biofeed has developed technology that attracts these mosquitos and gets them to feed on poison food. Biofeed won a $500,000 grant for their work in the 2016 Grand Challegnes Israel contest.
  • October 2015: Boston Scientific Corporation closed a round of financing with Israeli MValve Technologies Ltd, who are developing solutions to heart-valve disorders.
  • October 2015: Swiss drugmaker Novartis invests $15 million in Israeli stem-cell research project Gamida Cell.
  • September 2015: Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures signed a multi-year agreement with Israeli Health IT company Luminox.
  • September 2015: U.S. medical device company ZOLL Medical Corp purchases Israeli Kyma Medical Technologies Ltd.

Sources: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Mitzner, Dennis. “Israeli health tech is heating up with a wave of interest from abroad,” TechCrunch (October 26, 2015);
Cohen, Ohad. “Israeli Life Science Innovation and Technology Continues to Change Lives for the Better,” Times of Israel, (November 20, 2015);
Shamah, David. “Israeli start-up takes on 'grand challenge' of beating Zika,” Times of Israel, (March 13, 2016)

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