Call for new bio-tech lab to address global health challenges

Intensified by the current coronavirus crisis, they show need to find fast-paced, innovative solutions

‘JERUSALEM IS A hi-tech and bio-med hub in Israel.’ (photo credit: Courtesy)
‘JERUSALEM IS A hi-tech and bio-med hub in Israel.’
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Turning the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity, innovative corporations are being called upon to submit proposals for the establishment of a new technological innovation lab for the digital health field, which would address national and global health challenges, as well as aid in growing Israel's economy.
The new bio-tech lab will use  "top notch Israeli minds to find technological and digital solutions to combat diseases." according to Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel. In today's world we have the opportunity to "use digital and technological tools, combining forces of all relevant entities to leverage these capabilities to cope with future diseases."
The Israel innovation Authority (IIA), in collaboration with the ministry’s National Israel Digital Initiative, are making the call for the new lab, for the development of pharmaceuticals and artificial intelligence for use in the digital health field. Israeli and international corporations wishing to be exposed to open innovation through an innovation lab, as well as to strengthen Israel's unique innovation environment, are invited to submit their proposals.
The current health challenges that have been brought to light and further intensified by the current crisis brought on by the  coronavirun, are "a clear indication of a growing global need to find fast-paced, innovative solutions," according to IIA CEO Aharon Aharon.
Israel has a major handhold in innovative start-ups as well as strengths in information and communication technology  and biology. By building the lab, it can create an opportunity to leverage these strengths into addressing both Israel's and global health needs.
The lab would be a part of the authority's BioConvergence program, which aims to create a leading health-tech industry in Israel and around the world, through support and advancement of innovative solutions that combine the worlds of biology and engineering based on cutting-edge research in academia and industry in these knowledge areas.
"These areas are part of the strategic plan for BioConvergence that the Israel Innovation Authority is leading. The authority promotes BioConvergence as the next growth engine of the health-tech industry, as it is strategically important in promoting healthcare innovations," says Aharon.
"The goal of the new digital-health Innovation Lab will be to harness the innovation and creativity of Israel for future healthcare solutions and to deal with illnesses, as we currently act with the coronavirus," said
Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, adding that turning the crisis into opportunities for the Israeli hi-tech market will "aid the growth and development of the Israeli economy."
Requiring funding of NIS 32 million, the goal is to promote investments in areas that will contribute to the State of Israel in the development of resilience in the diagnosis, treatment and fighting all aspects of the disease.
The funding would be applied over a five-year period, and "the corporations that will set up the lab will receive funding for the establishment of a unique technological infrastructure and ongoing operation of the lab, as well as funding for proof of concept of the projects that will be recruited in the lab," says Shai-Lee Spigelman, Head of Digital Israel.
According to Spigelman, the innovation lab will receive financial support for the establishment of the technology infrastructure, which will include a computational lab and a wet lab with comprehensive equipment for biotechnology research and development, to promote projects that will operate within it, at a rate of 33% (50% if the lab will be established in the periphery areas of Israel) of NIS 6 million, as well as financial support at a rate of 50% of the lab's ongoing operating expenses of up to NIS 1 million per year for five years.
In addition, the authority will provide financial support for the Lab’s startups projects at 85% and a budget of up to NIS 3m., for up to 24 months for each project.