Israel is helping to open a health innovation hub in Chicago to develop and advance health-equity solutions, the Foreign Ministry and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer announced Sunday.
The hub is being built in Chicago’s South Side on the Michael Reese Medical Center campus in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Health Ventures (KHV) and Farpoint Development. It will be based on Sheba’s ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) model and known as the Chicago ARC Innovation Center.
“We have learned many things from the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said during a launch event last week.
“One of the most important is that global challenges need global solutions,” he said. “This partnership with the Chicago ARC Innovation Center and Sheba Medical Center could quite literally save lives. Together, they will advance healthcare solutions, share best practices and transform healthcare.”
The new hub is “one of the many ways we have to share Israeli innovation and keep strengthening the unbreakable bond between our two nations,” Ashkenazi said.
Over the past year, Sheba’s ARC has supported Israel during the coronavirus crisis, providing strategies and technologies. Sheba helped provide the repackaging for the Pfizer vaccine vials, which came in large trays and have to be stored at minus-70 degrees Celsius, enabling Israel to speed up its mass vaccination campaign.
Israel is leading the world in the number of people per capita to get the jab.
Illinois set health equity as a public health goal and has been working for years to create programs and partnerships to close health disparity gaps.
“Here in Illinois, we have some of the best research universities on earth, one of the largest biotech talent pools in the United States, and our medical centers are among the most respected in the world,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the launch event.
“Those assets are just one facet of why our state is ideal for a new health innovation hub,” he said. “The establishment of the Chicago ARC Innovation Center both recognizes and strengthens our reputation.”
Sheba Director-General Prof. Yitshak Kreiss said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 boosted this new enterprise and proved to all of us just how crucial it is to get ARC Chicago up and running. Sheba will contribute its global network of partners, its open innovation model, data and sources of technologies and start-ups looking to transform healthcare in the US.
“KHV will use its experience in the US market and impact investing to drive commercialization and investment success. Farpoint will help us cultivate inclusive Chicago neighborhoods, [turning them] into the USA’s first City of Health with its commercial real estate development [expertise].”
The hub will launch first and immediately as a health-equity accelerator with the aim of attracting international companies, including start-ups from Israel. The full ARC is expected to be open and operating by 2023.