Intrigue surrounds sale of Israeli heart-attack patch patent

PMO backs Schalit envoy Hadas, who is a director of company involved in heart-attack patch patent scam.

hagai hadas 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
hagai hadas 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A reported $370 million biotech transaction that sent the Israeli market's heart racing now seems to be far from the done deal the media hyped it up to be. On Monday, TV and press reports played up what they called one of the biggest purchases in Israeli history: the sale by Bnei Brak start-up SafeSky Software of a third stake in a patent for a patch to prevent heart attacks to British company MSI. A day later, the supposed deal appeared to have unraveled when it emerged that one of the partners in the company, Arik Klein, who has served prison time for fraud, forged e-mail correspondence in which he pretended to represent MSI in the purchase. The plot thickened when it was discovered that Haggai Hadas, the former Mossad official recently appointed to head negotiations for captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, is a director of SafeSky, and that its CEO is Gabi Picker, a childhood friend of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on Tuesday saying that Hadas's "private affairs, including his business activity, are his personal responsibility and are carried out with his knowledge alone, and are entirely unrelated to his public role." Hadas, Picker and SafeSky founder Amos Buchnik continued to insist on Tuesday that the transaction had indeed been concluded. "There is a deal," Buchnik told Army Radio. "We don't have to answer to anybody." A spokesman for the British company said it had no knowledge of the deal. "The matter is being handled by our legal department," he told Globes. According to the Israeli company, it had developed and patented the Life Keeper - a small patch that monitored heart rate and was capable of detecting dramatic changes and warning of impending heart attacks half an hour in advance. "The patch is [highly effective]. We stand behind it," Buchnik said. "The patch has four registered patents, and if necessary, we'll show them to you."