LEADING UP to Pessah and the lull of business activity that follows, many of the country's hi-tech companies, particularly in the bio-med sector, have made significant announcements. AqWise, the provider of a leading biological-based solution for wastewater treatment, announced late last month closure of a financing round at $3.6 million through existing investors: AHMSA Steel Israel Ltd., Elron Electronic Industries and Israel Cleantech Ventures. Herzliya-based AqWise said it would use the proceeds to grow its presence and market reach around the globe, as well as to continue development of its innovative AGAR(R) (Attached Growth Airlift Reactor) fixed-biofilm moving-bed process. Aqwise has already gained significant commercial success in 2008 by winning several significant projects in industrial and municipal sectors. Organizations around the world are using AqWise's solution to meet stringent effluent quality requirements both cost effectively and on a truly scalable basis. AqWise is a world leader in the development and implementation of innovative wastewater treatment solutions that address today's urgent need for cost-effective wastewater treatment plants for both industrial and municipal clients. The company's solutions are successfully installed worldwide in dozens of municipal and industrial plants, in various fields such as pulp and paper, food and beverage, and aquaculture farms. Pythagoras Solar Inc., based in Tel Aviv, a solar energy company developing innovative photovoltaic technology, recently announced the successful completion of a $10m. Series A financing round, led by Israel Cleantech Ventures and joined by Pitango Venture Capital and Evergreen Venture Partners. Pythagoras Solar, the first company that was conceived and incubated within Precede Technologies, will use funds for Israel-based R&D and global commercialization of its innovative technology and products that have the potential to change the economics of solar power. CONTINUING IN the "giving" theme, D-Pharm, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Rehovot, announced last week that it had received notice from the Chief Scientist's Office (CSO) of its commitment to match expenditures on four of D-Pharm's R&D programs with a total grant of up to NIS 11m. D-Pharm's drug-development programs emerged from the company's unique platform technology of lipid-like medicine. The CSO grant supports four major company developments: GMP production of DP-b99 in-house, IND preparations and initiation of a pivotal Phase III trial in stroke patients; a Phase II migraine study of DP-VPA in Israeli medical centers; and two preclinical programs, DP-460 for Alzheimer's disease and LipidoMimetix for cancer. The Chief Scientist's Office has supported D-Pharm since its establishment, providing grants of about $18m., excluding this latest announcement. D-Pharm is pioneering the development of lipid-like therapeutics and has generated a rich pipeline of patent-protected proprietary products. D-Pharm's pipeline includes advanced clinical-stage products DP-b99 for treatment of acute ischemic stroke patients and DP-VPA, a novel drug for treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder and prophylaxis of migraine. D-Pharm recently received approved from the Health Ministry to commence a Phase II study of DP-VPA in migraine patients. DP-460 is in preclinical development intended as an oral, disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer's disease. Other mimics of bioactive lipids, LipidoMimetix, are at an earlier developmental stage for cancer. ROUNDING OUT the bio-med news, Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced last month that it has been granted approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee of Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem to conduct a Phase 2A study of its oral insulin on diabetic volunteers. The Phase 2A study is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Oramed's oral insulin capsule on Type II diabetic volunteers. The study is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2008. The trials are expected to last several months. Oramed Pharmaceuticals is focused on the development of oral-delivery solutions based on proprietary technology. Diabetes is one of the most rapidly growing diseases in the world and is one that requires constant and often unpleasant monitoring and drug therapy regimens. Jerusalem-based Oramed is currently developing an orally ingestible insulin capsule for the treatment of diabetes. The company is also pursuing the development of oral-delivery solutions for other drugs and vaccines. SHIFTING THE focus away from the active bio-med sector, Allot Communications Ltd. of Hod Hasharon, a leader in IP service optimization solutions based on deep-packet inspection (DPI), has announced that Technology Marketing Corporation's (TMC(R)) Unified Communications magazine has named the Allot Service Gateway as a recipient of its 2007 Product of the Year Award. The Service Gateway, which delivers true 10G performance, is the industry's first open, standards-based platform for broadband service control and optimization based on DPI technology. FINALLY, BitBand, a leading provider of video content delivery solutions for broadband IP networks, last month introduced its new QualiCTV IPTV solution, designed to ensure a quality viewing and entertainment experience for broadcast channels. QualiCTV's advanced solution helps IPTV service providers improve their service and increase customer satisfaction by mitigating several IPTV challenges, such as packet loss due to errors on access lines and slow channel zapping. QualiCTV is composed of BitBand's QualiC server, a high-performance video server that captures and buffers the multicast video and interoperates with the set-top box in a way that enables seamless advanced IPTV functionalities. The QualiCTV solution employs unique innovative technologies developed by BitBand for improving the Quality of Experience of broadcast IPTV channels. When combined with BitBand's advanced high-performance streaming technology, both advanced features and excellent scalability are enabled. A single QualiC server installed in the IPTV service provider's network can guarantee the Quality of Experience to tens of thousands of subscribers. QualiCTV is part of BitBand's fully featured and automated IPTV CDN solution, providing a comprehensive, flexible and scalable offering for both on-demand and broadcast content to IPTV operators all over the world.