A major biotechnology park that will house some two dozen startup companies in its first stages will be built on the campus of Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem.
The state-of-the-art environment for biotech firms is being constructed by the Hadassah Medical Organization and Hebrew University, which are already partners in five schools of allied medical professions. The two have established a joint foundation for this project called "UNIHAD" to build and operate the park.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday guests including Acting Finance Minister Ehud Olmert were told it should be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2007.
The park will consist of five floors for offices and laboratories, with three additional levels for parking. The facility can be expanded if demand requires it.
The park will be based on the BOT (build-operate-transfer) system, according to which land, planning of the building, its erection and operation are handed over to the entrepreneurs for 25 years.
Its location, close to the hospital and to the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, make it ideal because of the presence of high-quality researchers. Biotech park tenants will be granted access to the facilities and services of both institutions.
Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Matan Vilna'i announced Wednesday that a research and development center for the Druse population - the first of its kind - will be established in the North. The operation will start in a few months as a branch of one of the ministry's research and development centers in the area. The ministry is building and supporting similar centers from Kiryat Shmona and the Golan in the north to Mitzpe Ramon and Hatzeva in the south.