'Israel a world power in medical devices'

Rambam head says Israel is known around the world for its breakthroughs and imaginative applications in medicine.

RAFAEL BEYAR (photo credit: (Courtesy/Rambam Health Care)
(photo credit: (Courtesy/Rambam Health Care)
This country is a world power in the development of medical devices in the cardiovascular field, according to Rambam Medical Center director- general Prof. Rafael Beyar.
He made these comments at the ICI-Innovations in Cardiovascular Interventions conference – that he is co-chairing – which opened at Tel Aviv’s David Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday.
Beyar – who himself is a leading interventional cardiologist (performing angioplasty and other minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures) – said that Israel is known around the world for its breakthroughs and imaginative applications in medicine in general and the cardiovascular field in particular.
According to statistics, 56 percent of the local life sciences industry is devoted to the development of medical equipment, 20% to biotechnology and 12% to drug development. Medical equipment innovation deals primarily with implants and single- use equipment such as stents and artificial heart valves and devices to open clogged arteries.
There are 212 Israeli companies involved in developments in medical technology; 82 of them work solely in cardiovascular devices. Israel is highly respected as as innovator in medicine.
“If Israel were compared to Silicon Valley in California, it has about the same number of residents and also the same number of companies in the life sciences,” said Beyar.
“Israel invents and develops medical devices at the highest level, but with one small difference – Silicon Valley companies have a budget 20 times larger than that of Israeli companies,” he continued.
The combination of academia, industry and hospitals is the secret combination to development in the field, Beyar continued. The world’s medical equipment industry comprises $200 billion, when half of that amount is utilized in the US alone. Some 35% of that amount goes to the cardiovascular field.
Israeli medical equipment exports totaled $1.5 billion last year, an increase of 9% over 2009. Between January and September of this year alone, the figure rose by 15% to $1.2 billion.
Some 1,000 experts from Israel and abroad are attending the three-day meeting.
They include cardiologists, radiologists, electro-physiologists and representatives of huge companies.