Jerusalem looking to attract biomed industry

Mayor Barkat calls growth of health science research and development in Jerusalem a "classic win-win situation."

barkat waves 248 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
barkat waves 248 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The life science industry in Israel continues to thrive and attract new businesses and researchers, despite the economic crisis. That's the assessment of Yosi Bornstein, founder of ILSI and CEO of Shizim, a holding company hosting a group of companies in the life science industry. Bornstein is one of the more than 6,000 local and international CEOs attending the ILSI (Israel Life Sciences Industry) annual BioMed conference in Tel Aviv this week, including experts, academics, scientists, researchers, venture capitalists and angel investors. Bornstein noted that 54 percent of new technologies in Israel's life science industry are medical devices. Israel is an ideal location for such industries due to what Bornstein calls "Israeli innovation." Aron Cohen and Rea Leavi, biomed professionals from London, said they recognized the innovation Bornstein refers to. Their company, Ariad, specializes in custom software solutions for diagnostic testing and has worked with health science research facilities in Jerusalem and London. Cohen, CEO of Ariad, asserts that Israel has the highest ratio of innovation to population in the world. "One of the key reasons why Israel is so good for this [life sciences] is because the government has recognized that this is the way forward for a small country with a high level of intellectual capacity," he said. According to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, 50% of clinical research in Israel takes place in the capital. A self-made millionaire in the high-tech field, Barkat spoke at the conference to promote Jerusalem as the future of Israeli biomedical innovation. Barkat referred to the growth of health science research and development in Jerusalem as a "classic win-win situation." "Among other things, I intend to award financial incentives in order to encourage international companies to put down roots in Jerusalem." In the next five years Barkat, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Development Authority, plans to invest and raise NIS 100 m. to promote health and life science business in Jerusalem.