As a recognized leader of creative developments in the world of high tech, Israel has become a leading provider of innovative solutions in the life science arena to meet today’s healthcare challenges to lower overall healthcare costs and the world’s evolving needs of aging population and providing better, higher quality medical care to the emerging middle classes in China, India, Brazil, Russia and other developing countries.
A strong entrepreneurial spirit pervades Israeli society - innovation is an Israeli way of life.
- Israel’s 16 Technology Transfer Organizations (TTOs) showcase the creative fusion between universities, hospital systems, businesses and the military. All of the TTOs are dedicated to encouraging and promoting research projects and military technology from the lab to the world market.
- Healthcare is a priority in a well-educated country. Israel spends 8% of its GDP on healthcare. It boasts a very high level of healthcare and an extensive infrastructure of quality resources that range from local community clinics to world-renowned trauma centers. The country has a high ratio of MDs to population (3.5 per 1,000). The country’s entrepreneurial spirit runs through this sector as well: Many Israeli physicians are both early adopters of new technologies and developers of original technologies in their own right.
- Israel has a highly skilled workforce. The country has the greatest number of scientists and engineers per capita in the world; 24% of the workforce has academic degrees.
- The defense community nurtures the life science industry. Extensive investment in developing state-of-the-art technologies for defense has proved fertile ground for advanced life science applications. Two very wellknown innovations emerged from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems: PillCamTM, a video capsule endoscope (developed by Given Imaging), and cryotherapy for the treatment of cancer (developed by Galil Medical).
- Strong institutional incentives support the development of new technologies. The 23 government-licensed technological incubators, which began in the 1990s as a way to provide employment opportunities for new immigrant scientists and engineers (many from the former Soviet Union), has evolved as a successful framework for advancing and commercializing early-stage life science technologies. In fact, in 2008, approximately 38% of the 1,175 incubator graduate companies continued beyond the incubator stage to function as mature companies.
Nearly half of Israel’s technological incubators focus on the life sciences or biotechnology. At the end of 2008, 41% of all incubated companies were involved in medical devices, and 18% in biotechnology. Of the $360 million in grant money awarded to incubator companies by Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist in 2008, 25.4% went to those involved in the life sciences.
- The world’s venture capital community keeps its focus on Israel. In 2008, about 80 Israeli and international VC companies targeted specific investment efforts on Israel. Of these, nine are focused solely on life sciences
The IEICI’s Life Science Sector is the leader in business matching between the more than 1,200 companies in the Israeli life science industry and worldwide business partners at all levels. It has a proven ability to identify and match suitable potential business partners, organizes one-on-one business meetings, and is a focal point for contacts with the government as well as with industry.