Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva geared up on Wednesday, convening for the first time ever the "National Forum for Bio-Innovators." 28 researchers were selected to participate in the project - all doctoral and postdoctoral students, from Tel Aviv University, the Technion University in Haifa and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The high-quality group of scientists is made up of individuals that routinely engage in cutting-edge research into a variety of diseases - from cancer, ALS and Alzheimer's, to Parkinson's, epilepsy and other rare diseases. The group will receive research funding from Teva along with close guidance and expert advice both from within the company and from industry experts.This pilot, which may also be extended to other universities in the future, is a part of the "Teva-Academia" project - a project designed to support researchers and encourage collaboration with leading academic institutions in Israel, from the first stages of research, to develop together - academia and industry - innovative drugs and treatments for fields such as the central nervous system, cancer and breathing.The forum began with a speech by Dr. Dana Bar-On, Director of Academic Relations in Teva's Global R&D Dept. and leader of the project. She said that "Teva has chosen to collaborate with the Israeli Academia due to the knowledge, innovation and many qualities of its researchers, who are the world's leading in their fields." She continued, saying that "for us, you - your students and university instructors - are the best representatives of these capabilities and strengths. We still face many challenges in developing innovative drugs that can improve patient health and one way to optimize and maximize this process is to improve the ability to translate academic innovation into the pharmaceutical industry."Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, a member of the board of directors at Teva and herself a leading researcher at Tel Aviv University, who is mentoring the project, welcomed the students, saying: "We believe that strengthening the relationship between Teva and academia - Israeli academia in particular - can lead to the introduction of breakthrough discoveries, innovation and expertise at Teva and strengthen innovative development both for Teva and for the Israeli academia.Later, the students received a brief overview from Mati Gill, Teva's head of government relations with international markets, about the activities of Teva Worldwide and how it built its base in the world of biopharmaceuticals. He says, "thanks to Teva's products, we can enable innovative treatments in diseases previously thought of as untreatable. Our extensive generic portfolio contributes to reducing patient costs, saving about $55 billion in healthcare every year, which is directed to improving patients' health in different ways and of that, we are proud."As part of the meeting, the researchers presented their research and their fields of study.Hila Flayev, one of the researchers who presented on Wednesday, is conducting research under the guidance of Tel Aviv University's Dr. Yossi Tzfadia on computational models of the coronavirus structure and interactions it can create. The same dreadful infectious virus that causes serious, life-threatening respiratory problems, recently forcing millions in China into quarantine as the rest of the world continues holding its breath. "We have been studying the interaction between other coronaviruses and human cells for years. We want to apply the methods we have developed in the new virus study as well," she said.