(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the first initiative of its kind, the Mayo Clinic, one of the best-regarded medical research and practice groups in the world, will seek to partner with Israeli life science and medical technology companies.
“We recognized the amount of start-up companies generated in Israel to help clinical practice and improve patient care and we wanted to explore the possibility to partner with them,” said Dr. Amir Lerman, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic Israeli Startup Initiative.
The Israel initiative is the clinic’s first investment and partnership program of its kind focused on an entire country, though it also has an investment program in Ireland through its government.
"We have been thinking for some time how to effectively interact with Israeli companies. We think the startup community in Israel is very robust on the cutting edge, doing very creative things, and we think we should be part of that," said James Rogers, the chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures, which is leading the initiative alongside The Merage Foundation.
Though the initiative has been in the works for nearly a year, it will officially launch at the IATI-Biomed conference, Israel’s largest life sciences and technology conference, in Tel Aviv next week.
The Mayo Clinic is sending a team to meet start-ups, learn about their technology, and potentially make investments.
“If we see an idea we think is going to make sense, we're bringing the people who are able to do deals. We will move quickly, but we will move with quality," Rogers said.
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Mayo Clinic Ventures has three seed funds as well as a $100 million venture growth fund, and is looking to partner with start-ups on a variety of levels. In some, it will seek to make an equity investment. In others, it will seek to partner on clinical trials and advancing technology, and take a royalty position.
Though the group is interested in a wide variety of medical technology (Rogers cites therapy, diagnostics, prognostics, devices, IT, individualized medicine, regenerative medicine), they will also be looking for good strategic fits.
"We're not interested in being investors for the sake of being investors, we want a real value exchange," Rogers said. “My advice to companies is that we like to understand a clear thesis for what they're doing and how it can differentiate our practice, take costs out of the system, or help patients.”
Lerman adds: The whole concept of partnering with the technology and talent in Israel, is part of the philosophy we have at the Mayo Clinic of ‘patient comes of first.’ We expect to see great things coming out of this.”
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