Israel's incubator program continued to draw investments in the first six months of the year, as 115 participating companies raised a total of $220 million mainly in the life sciences and biotechnology sector but officials warned that the program's success will be hurt by planned budget cuts.
"In the first half of 2007, 25 new companies graduated from the program of which 19 raised over $19m. The rate of 78 percent is very high and proves the success of the program," said Rina Pridor, director of the Technological Incubator program at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. "However, the current budget size for the incubator program is endangering the ability of the incubators to operate and develop innovative ideas since it allows for only two new projects per incubator per year. Damaging the program will cause damage to Israel's economic growth."
Chief Scientist Eli Opper added that an increase in the chief scientist budget and incubator program budget would raise the potential of exports and employment in the country.
According to the semi-annual report of the incubator program, Remon Medical Technologies Inc., the company that was bought by Boston Scientific, raised $80m. in the first six months of the year, while three companies raised between $10m. to $20m., four companies raised between $5m.and $10m. and 29 companies raised between $1m. and $5m.
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