Israel’s dynamic life sciences sector is growing at a rapid pace, contributing enormously to the global healthcare market. Today there are over 1,200 active life science companies in Israel with some 40 new companies formed each year. In 2013, Israeli life science exports reached $8 billion and a rich pipeline of seed companies in the field promises to perpetuate current growth. There is no other country in the world with such a concentration of life science companies.
What accounts for Israel’s success in the life sciences industry? Like other sectors in our Startup Nation’s hi-tech success story, Israeli biotech is based on a combination of innovative spirit, creative daring, and an ingrained entrepreneurial culture. More specifically, because the life sciences industry is an inter-disciplinary sector combining medicine with very advanced technology, Israel benefits from the fact that it has world-leading expertise in many different areas, including big data, electronics, medicine, imaging and software. This is aided by unique cooperation in the country across government, academia and industry.
The largest Life Science sectors in Israel are Medical Devices and HealthCare IT Technologies (more than 60% of companies). In the medical device arena, Israeli scientists and engineers have integrated advanced technologies in electronics, communications and electro-optics to develop world-class innovations in Digital Imaging, Medical Lasers, Telemedicine, Early Diagnostic and Smart Surgical equipment and more. More than 500 medical device exporters engage in a variety of medical applications such as Cardiovascular, Neurology and Degenerative Diseases, Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care and Rehabilitation, Oncology, Women’s Health, Orthopedics and Sport Medicine, Gastrointestinal, Infection Control, Ophthalmology, Pain and Wound Management, Oral and Dental, Dermatology and Aesthetics.
So, for example, world renowned Israeli companies like Re-Walk– which creates bionic exo-skeletons that allows paraplegics to stand and walk again- or Given Imaging– whose PillCam gives doctors a direct view inside your colon- are, along with dozens of others of Israeli trailblazers, changing the face of healthcare as we know it.
Over 40 leading Israeli medical device companies will be showcasing their innovations this year at MEDICA 2015 (November 16-19) in Dusseldorf, Germany. Tens of thousands will get an up close and personal look at many of these groundbreaking devices in fields ranging from therapeutics to monitoring, robotics, diagnostics, imaging, telemedicine and beyond.
One company in the delegation is Integrity Applications, which has developed GlucoTrack, a blood glucose monitor that enables diabetics to measure their blood glucose levels without drawing blood. This state-of-the-art device solves two pain points – the discomfort of drawing blood and the exorbitant cost of disposable test strips.
Neuronix will also be taking part in the delegation, showcasing their NeuroAD system, the only proven, non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive treatment for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. NeuroAD has been shown to increase the cognitive capabilities of patients who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Given that 1 in 3 senior citizens in America will die of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, with treatment costing upwards of $226 Billion in 2015 alone, this treatment can help millions suffering from this disease.
BioGaming has developed a technology that solves the costly problem of patients’ low adherence to rehabilitation home programs. The technology has transformed tedious and boring home exercises into fun, engaging experiences without compromising on supervision and feedback.
Hip Hope Technologies has created a revolutionary device for seniors intended to reduce the impact from falls which often cause hip fractures – the most common severe fracture among elderly people. Hip fractures are also associated with extremely high rates of mortality and morbidity. Once an impending collision with the ground is identified, Hip Hope’s belt-shaped device activates two fast deploying airbags that radically diminishes fall impact.
Improving the well-being of pregnant women and fetal health is also on the agenda this year. OB Tools continues to develop high quality, reliable uterine contraction and fetal heart rate monitoring devices. According to UNICEF, 80% of maternal deaths worldwide could be prevented if women had access to essential prenatal monitoring technology.