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Life Sciences: OPTIN & Life Science



Life Sciences: OPTIN & Life Sciences

OPTIN's main activity is to provide the clearest possible overview of what Israel and the Netherlands can offer to each other in the field of the Life Sciences and to provide information you are seeking for. The Life Science industry is evolving quickly and is the growth industry of the 21st century, surpassing electronics and communications as the leading science based industry. For this reason investment in Life Sciences is a national scientific priority for both countries. The key to success in this fast and competitive biotechnology market is co-operation, nationally and internationally. Israel and the Netherlands both have a growing biotechnology industry and their mutual co-operation stands to both countries benefit. Investment works both ways. OPTIN aims is to stimulate co-operation by promoting joint R&D ventures, business ventures, and scientific collaboration for both companies and institutions. Optin does this by distributing information, organizing events and personally helping companies, universities and institutes and by creation of the necessary indispensable mutual trust. OPTIN works with scientists in order to understand better de interests and to be able to make the just connections. For this purpose a large database has been assembled, with all Israeli and Dutch biotechnology projects grouped according to specific subjects i.e. Genomics, Bioinformatics, Drug discovery, Drug targeting, Immunology, Infectious diseases, Gene-therapy, Nanotechnology, Functional foods etc. OPTIN's activities in Life Sciences include the following:
  • Organizing events in this field (the first Bioinformatics contact days were held 29, 30 of October 2001). See Drug Discovery, November 18/19, 2002.
  • Creating a portal on our Internet site in Life Sciences Research as well in Trade between Israel and The Netherlands.
  • Keeping close contacts with Dutch and Israeli scientists in this field.
  • Informing scientists in Israel and the Netherlands about opportunities.
  • Continually promoting personal contacts between the scientists.
  • Representing Israeli Biotech at Dutch conferences
  • Encouraging collaboration both within the scientific community and between industrial companies
What OPTIN can do for you in Life Sciences
  • Events: Contact Days on specific subjects either in Israel or The Netherlands.
  • Collection of Projects: information can be inquired from OPTIN, individually, about projects in each country.
  • Establish contact with Israeli or Dutch counterparts: OPTIN can help you contact the right people within Israeli companies or the Dutch companies as well.
  • Distributing information: Booklets and brochures distributed to both sides. A joint Life Science Web Site.
  • Surveying Demand in the Industry: Personal contacts and surveys about the demand in the industry in order to find possible matches for research.
Advanced Technologies from

Life Sciences: Biotechnology


Biotechnology Biotechnology is rightly regarded as one of the key technologies for the 21st century. Biotechnology is the major growth area, equaling or surpassing the tremendous economic impact achieved by the advent of the personal computer, Internet communications, and related fields. Modern biotechnology provides the base for innovations in life sciences and countless opportunities in health care, agriculture and food production, the chemical industry and environmental protection. Biotechnology in Israel Israel takes a prominent place in the field of biotechnology. Israel has the world's highest level of per capita spending on education and the highest number of scientists per capita as well. 35% of the youth in Israel hold academic degrees from world-class Universities in Israel and abroad. Almost 60% of academic publications are in bio and clinical medicine and related fields. Recent surveys by the distinguished British biomedical periodical, The Lancet, ranked Israel #1 in the world in per capita publication of technical and research papers. Of particular importance to the field of biotechnology is the fact that 35% of all Israeli civilian research activities are in the area of life sciences. Israel's academic community has been characterized by a strong bent toward the life sciences. Israeli universities are renowned for their high profile life science research institutes, including a medical system actively involved in clinical investigation. Israel has seven universities, each of whom boasts international reputations in a number of fields. There are five technical colleges specializing in Life Sciences and ten research institutes heavily invested in R&D in biotechnology and related fields. Each of the major universities have R&D commercialization groups whose aim is to find strategic partners in world markets for new products being developed in the university environment (see Universities & Institutes). Biotechnology in The Netherlands Modern biotechnology has been since the mid-1980's one of the special priority areas in the technology policy of the Dutch government. This was reflected in programs with specific funding for biotechnological research in industry. Dutch companies have now begun to invest more in biotechnology, the number of biotechnology companies has substantially risen, and the Netherlands has become a global player in this field. This strengthened position enables The Netherlands to take on a leading role in the emerging market for biotechnology-related products and activities in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, foods, chemicals and the environment. The Netherlands is working on the construction of one of the most advanced communication networks for R&D purposes in the world. Interests and Investment Biotechnology, more than any other high-tech discipline, requires patient investors prepared if need be to wait many years before seeing returns on their equity. Local and international companies have made many investments and acquisitions and formed strategic partnerships and joint ventures with biotechnology companies. Strategic partnerships are a vital necessity for biotechnology firms, which lack not only capital, but also access to markets. This is the added value of venture capital funds, which can bring worldwide contacts and management know-how as funds. More about Investment see How to Finance. Israeli interests and investments 15 years ago the government of Israel recognized that biotechnology needed to be a priority area for development and has acknowledged the importance of biotechnology and continues to assist in its rapid development through direct financial support and other incentives for R&D activities and to promote cooperation in life sciences between industry and academia, national as well international. Government assistance in the form of grants and other incentives from the Ministry's Investment Center are available beyond the R&D stage, and include assistance in building production facilities, marketing, and start-up costs. The Israel Biotechnology Organization also works to support and promote development of the field. Particular importance to biotechnology is the Magnet program operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, MATIMOP - The Israeli Industry Center for R&D is the coordinator of industrial R&D cooperation between Israel and the international Hi-Tech community, and the principal technology clearinghouse in Israel. The Magnet program is designed to spur the development of innovative generic technologies by encouraging collaboration both within the scientific community and between industrial companies. To do this the program underwrites up to 65% of a consortium's budget based on joint projects of Merit. Presently there are four biotech projects supported under this program, with the lion's share allocated to the development of generic technologies for pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. A new program, Magneton, which began in 2001, its purpose is to investigate the manner by which a scientific discovery becomes an industrial product. The aim is to increase the access of Israeli industry to the achievements of academic research and its economic potential, through cooperation between research groups and industry. In an effort to bridge the gap between basic academic research and that leading to commercial applications, the government began to sponsor "national open centers." These centers are devoted to intermediate strategic research, needing advanced instrumentation and skilled scientists, and collaborative projects. These " national centers" operate in the areas of protein purification & microsequencing, transgenic plant technologies, transgenic animal technologies, genomic technologies, gene-therapy and high-throughput screening technologies. Israel has realized its potential in biotechnology. The Israeli government as well the private sector has already placed much money in the Israeli biotechnology. 10% of the venture capital healthcare investment is in biotechnology. One out of 20 venture capital investments is also in biotechnology. The government of Israel through the Office of Chief Scientist (OCS) has allocated a budget of $100 million for implementing new initiatives that include:

  • Establishing Two World-Class Biotechnology Dedicated Incubators.
  • Upgrading The Physical Infrastructure Supporting The Industry.
  • Providing Pre-Seed Funding For Promoting Commercialization.
  • Supporting and encouraging R&D (yearly $430 million) for verity of programs.
  • Supporting Investment in Israel: 1. Governmental participation up 32%, 2. Tax Holiday Path on accelerating depreciation 3. Tax Holiday on undistributed profits

Dutch interest and investments Over 20 years ago the Dutch Government began a forward-looking program of investment in biotechnology research. Targeted research programs were established to bring together researchers from the private sector and government research centers using biotechnology in agriculture, the food and chemical industries, and environmental protection. This cross-fertilization between private and publicly funded research has constructed a sound infrastructure for both basic and applied research together with a high level of training. The Dutch Government has launched several initiatives to encourage faster and more effective conversion of the available knowledge into commercial products and services. The Life Sciences Action Plan, which allocated a budget of 250 million Euro during the 2000-2005 period, focuses specifically on incentives for start-up companies, not only financially but also through the supply of equipment, laboratory and office accommodation and advice. Genomics - research into the structure and function of genes - is also being encouraged by a research program in which companies and public research institutions work together. Part of the BioPartner Program's budget has been allocated for scientific research in this area. The Dutch Government's efforts are directed to developing biotechnology as a key to a sustainable society. In addition to establishing a broader base for research and providing adequate training at all levels, it is encouraging activities in this area, by supporting new businesses and by actively recruiting foreign companies into the Netherlands. As a result many foreign companies have based their European headquarters in the Netherlands. In addition to the positive climate for biotechnology, companies also benefit from the excellent transport and IT infrastructure, favorable tax climate and internationally orientated population which make foreigners feel at home very quickly in The Netherlands. The Dutch government together with the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research stimulates the commercial spin-off of academic research with specific programs. With the stimulation program STIGON (Incentive Fund Program for Innovative Drug Research and Entrepreneurship in The Netherlands), young scientists identify and trained to transform commerciable original scientific ideas into high risk/high reward activities. At the same time the Ministry of Economics launched the Plan of Action for Life Sciences (100 million US dollars over 5 years) to stimulate life sciences entrepreneurship in The Netherlands. With this Plan funds will be made available for biotech start-ups on the basis of properly patented inventions and an adequate business plan aimed at product development and profitable industrial activities. Also, within the universities entrepreneurial activities are strongly encouraged. In 2000 the scientific and business community in The Netherlands presented the Strategic Plan of Action for Genomics to the Government. It was stated that for innovation and reinforcement of the infrastructure for knowledge in The Netherlands in the field of genomics additional investments of 250 million US dollars are needed over a period of five years with an option for another 250 million US dollars for a second 5-year period. Two programs (Genomics and Biomolecular Informatics, totally 35 million US dollars) already started in the fall of 2000. In The Netherlands there is already much capital (money) raised by the private sector (joint ventures/venture capital) ready for investing in the biotechnology. (see How to Finance) Biotechnology and industry Biotechnology is the most growth industry in this century. Participation in this rapidly growing field is at a critical juncture and only a concerted effort by the Government, Industry and the Research Establishment will ensure a respectable share of the global market. In Biotechnology, strong basic research is a prerequisite for industrial applications, so that both research and transition to industry are in need of support from government and from University structures such as R&D commercialization offices. Many scientists from Academic Institutions take positions in Biotech Industries. Biotechnology and industry In Israel Israel has, following the successes of its science-based industry in electronics, software and communications a strong leading place in the world of biotechnology. Israel is already a major player in the global biotechnology industry with an international reputation for innovation, excellence and quality in such areas as Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Agrobio and Bioneutraceuticals. The potential for further growth is enormous. Israel is well placed to capture a greater share of the international biotechnology market. Israel's advanced technologies capabilities have transformed the country in recent years into one of the world's most developed economies. Yet Israel's highly educated workforce, renowned for its creativity, versatility and entrepreneurial spirit has often been reluctant to invest time, effort and capital in the research intensive requirements of biotechnology. Biotechnology and industry In The Netherlands The chemicals sector in the Netherlands is extremely interested in biotechnology. This is reflected in the fact that many international chemical companies have turned to the life sciences in recent years and are now concentrating on products with high added value such as raw materials for medicines and agro-chemicals. However, even in the production of large volume of bulk chemicals these companies are increasingly looking to the possibilities offered by biotechnology. Their research tends to focus mainly on enzymes acting as catalysts for one or more stages in the production process. Dutch business and industry is also active in biocatalysis. The Netherlands is traditionally home to a number of companies that combine enzymatic reactions with organic synthesis in their production processes. An increasing number of synthetic steps are gradually disappearing from these processes and the enzymatic reactions are being optimized with the help of metabolic pathway engineering. In addition to co-operation with the research school, these companies are also working with the public research infrastructure through an innovation-orientated research program called Katalyse. Pharmaceutical biotechnology Health care is the most important area of application for modern biotechnology. There is constant need for new methods of prevention, diagnosis and therapy. Health care products command a high market value. The rapidly developing field of genomics, which is concerned with how inherited traits are determined genetically, is an important source of knowledge for medical biotechnology. The unraveling of the human genetic code will have direct consequences for the diagnosis of hereditary diseases. The biotechnological revolution has already yielded several new biotech companies in the Pharma field: target discovery, gene manipulation technology, DNA vaccination and immunization, molecular diagnostics, non-invasive technology, transgenic production of therapeutic proteins, gene therapy and substitutive medicine. Molecular nanotechnology will provide great opportunities in creating personalized drugs. Pharmaceutical biotechnology in Israel The two oldest Israeli biotechnology firms, InterPharm and BioTechnology General, which were established in the late 70's, are subsidiaries of overseas companies. InterPharm Laboratories, owned by the Swiss-based company Serono, has developed and manufactured bulk biological pharmaceuticals, mainly cytokines. With sales of $50 million a year, InterPharm's leading product is bulk recombinant human interferon-beta-1a, which is processed into a pharmaceutical for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The medication, marketed under the Rebif(r) commercial brand name, has received approval in over 50 countries including Canada, Israel and European nations and a file has been submitted to the FDA in the US. Bio-Technology General (BTG), the first company in Israel to develop an ethical drug is fully owned by an American firm traded publicly on NASDAQ, which develops and manufactures all of its products in Israel. Established in 1980, BTG had annual sales of $62 million in 1999. The company's primary focus is on the development, manufacture and marketing of genetically engineered and other products for human health care, focusing on therapeutic agents that address endocrine, cardiopulmonary, ophthalmic and skin disorders. The company's main products, which are marketed in 30 countries worldwide, are Oxandrin (oxandrolone, USP), and Delatestryl (testosterone enanthate), Mircette (oral contraceptive), Bio-Tropin (human growth hormone) and Biolon (hyaluronic acid). BTG has strategic partnerships with Organon inc. For marketing Mircette and Akorn Inc. for marketing Biolon. Bio-Hep(tm) (recombinant hepatitis B vaccine) was recently launched in Israel. About more companies see Companies. Pharmaceutical biotechnology in The Netherlands The Netherlands are now on the eve of the generation of new biotech companies in the Pharma field, especially directed to integrative bioinformatics, proteomics and pharmacogenomics. New entrepreneurial companies have emerged on an unprecedented scale to exploit advances in molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, combinatorial chemistry, high throughput screening, robotics, microelectronics and informatics to generate new products and services for medicines for human and animal use. Current financial investments in biotechnology will progressively shift from discovery of new pharmaceuticals to clinical practice in relation to molecular diagnostics. Agricultural biotechnology Modern biotechnology plays an important role in the development of innovative applications both in agriculture and in the food industry. In agriculture, this research concentrates on accelerating the classic improvement of plants and animals through the use of marker genes and the development of new hereditary characteristics. In the food industry, it focuses on improving products and processes through the use of improved enzymes. New products are also developed which have a higher nutritional value or by the addition of substances called nutritional pharmaceuticals or nutriceuticals beneficial to the health of specific groups of people. The spectacular advances in analytical biotechnology are rapidly expanding the scope for application of biotechnology in the Agro-food area, leading to a full integration of biotech in R&D, production and quality control, with increasing emphasis on functional foods and food safety. It is said that the plant biotechnology is the only means to keep feeding the word population in the future and that the coming up huge population will require massive increases in agricultural production. With the classic breeding and improvement of environmental conditions the maximum potential production output in agriculture will be soon explored. It is possible that plant biotechnology can cause break through and can be the solution for the food problems, such e.g. yield and nutrition. The clustering towards larger units and groups in academia and industry, the many initiatives for new approaches in R&D and relatively non emotional attitude of the general public towards genetic modification are creating a positive climate for Agro-food biotechnology. Agricultural biotechnology in Israel As a country with advanced sciences, pioneer in new technologies and agricultural developments with world renowned research institutions and availability of skilled labor in life science together with dynamic start up companies, achievement-motivated research and governmental support Israel became a world leader in the agro-biotechnological research. Different companies decided to join forces in order to instigate agro-biotechnology projects national as international. Israel is the ideal country for such an enterprise. Israeli agricultural know-how has been exploited worldwide. Israel achieved among the highest levels of agricultural output in the world. The agricultural education in Israel takes mainly place at the Faculty of Agriculture of The University of Jerusalem in Rehovot, the Tel-Hai College in north of the country, and at the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) located at the Volcani Center campus in Bet-Dagan, near Tel-Aviv. ARO has seven institutes; each institute is responsible for specific field as crops, horticulture, animal etc. ARO also operates four research stations in various parts of the country. Israel's Gene Bank for Agricultural Crops is also located on the ARO Volcani Center campus. Recently, more and more universities and institutes began to apply agricultural research. This occurs mainly because of the introduction of new technologies, such as genomics and bioinformatics. ARO maintains particularly close relations with the various international, regional and national institutes involved in the promotion of good agricultural practice and in the increase of agricultural output. The trust hereby invites researchers in the various Research Institutes in Israel to make introductory offers for projects with commercial potential in many fields of agriculture. Close and long-standing relations also hold between ARO researchers and their counterparts in Europe. The setting up of bi-national funds with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland and Italy has done much to reinforce these links. Beside the universities, institutes, colleges and start-up companies the breeding companies in Israel are also intensively busy with research and application in the agricultural biotechnology. Agro-biotechnology became the magnetic field to investors. Millions for investment in exceptional projects that could lead to products having marketing potential are ready of used. Agricultural biotechnology in The Netherlands The Netherlands occupies a leading position in horticultural improvements, mainly potatoes, vegetables and flowers. The Netherlands is also home to a number of leading companies conducting research into improved stockbreeding methods, mainly on cows and pigs. Thanks to modern technologies such as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, the Dutch cattle sector has now almost caught up with the United States. A number of large food companies such as Unilever, Numico and FCDF, all highly focused on improving the added value of foods, are also located in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has around thirty seed improvement companies. A third of these are now part of a large international group. The rest consist of independent companies contracting out much of their research to institutes or specialized biotechnology companies. The research infrastructure for plant biotechnology consists of laboratories, companies and various semi- publicly financed institutes. There is a world-renowned research centre at Wageningen, where much attention has been focused on plant genomics in recent years. TNO Zeist, with a strong background in molecular biology and analysis in food matrices has obtained a leading position in Europe for determinations of the presence of genetically modified materials in food products and raw materials - based on the presence of specific DNA sequences. In addition to qualitative determinations, (semi-) quantitative analyses have been developed in response to the need for establishing whether products contain deliberately added GM materials or are only contaminated with traces (no labeling required). These sensitive analytical tools appear also to be of great help in product development. Large chemical industries are shifting their interest towards 'life sciences'. Quest and Gist-brocades, both major Dutch producers of food ingredients, have been incorporated in ICI and DSM respectively; now their development and growth is being supported by capital influx of their new parent companies. In Wageningen R&D for the agro-food production chain is gaining power by a series of measures and events:

  1. The creation of the 'Wageningen University and Research Center' - one organization integrating WAU with the DLO Institutes, formerly part of the Ministry of Agriculture
  2. Joint TNO-WAU Centers for Protein Technology, Toxicology and Micronutrient Research
  3. The success of the VLAG graduate school, led by WAU with participation of TNO, DLO and NIZO, with over 200 PhD students
  4. WCFS, the Wageningen Center for Food Sciences - the initiative of TNO, WAU, NIZO and DLO and six leading food and food ingredient industries - Unilever, Gist-brocades, AVEBE, Cosun, Cebeco and the joint Dutch dairy industry - for three large strategic research programs on Food and health, Structure and functionality and Functionality and process technology and
  5. The establishment of research centres in Wageningen by Numico (health foods) and Campina Melkunie (dairy).

These new developments are transforming the 'Wageningen Food Valley' - including Zeist (TNO) and Ede (NIZO) - into a major world class center for nutrition and food research with several thousands of researchers. Since 1993 the Ministries of Industry and Agriculture are successfully supporting an innovative and strategic research program on the relation between composition/structure and function of agri-industrial proteins. A range of research projects supported by industry are running at universities and institutes, with core activities at WAU and TNO for food and at ATO-DLO for non-food applications. This is greatly improving the insights and capabilities for controlling and modifying functional properties of proteins and peptides of milk, soy, wheat, potato, gelatin and collagen.

 

Life Sciences: Genomics/Bioinformatics


Optin and Genomics/Bioinformatics Optin Genomics initiatives include the following:

  • Organizing events in this field
  • Creating a Genomics/bioinformatics portal
  • Keeping close contact for Dutch and Israeli Scientists in this field
  • Informing Scientists in Israel and The Netherlands about new opportunities
  • Continually promoting personal contacts between the scientists

The vast amount of information generated by biomolecular research necessitates high level management. Bioinformatics is the tool for enhancing the ability of pharmaceutical and life science companies to use this information. It is the interface between biomolecular science, computer science and applied mathematics. It is the key to the future of biotechnology and a new field with an enormous potential. The upcoming age of biotechnology lies in the further development and application of bioinformatics.
By organizing the first bioinformatics contact days OPTIN has collected all projects in this field. The bioinformatics contact days were the next step to stimulate future co-operation. OPTIN will continue to supply information about Israeli projects in Bioinformatics, Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics and other specific subjects in this area. Bioinformatics Contact Days in The Hague
The Bioinformatics Contact Days in The Hague
Compugen, Yissum and Scholars from the Hebrew University and The Weizmann Institute.
His Excellentie the ambassador of Israel, Mr. Eitan Margalit and Mr. Meine Oosten, the Alderman of the city Delft
Day 2 of the Bioinformatics Contact Days
Sponsored by: Optin, Matimop, CGE&Y, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Udink and the Jong, The Israel Office Delft and Verenigde. BIOLOGY meets INFORMATICS -Israel meets The Netherlands- BIOINFORMATICS: The Future of Biotechnology. The Hague 29th and 30th of October: A meeting between Dutch and Israeli companies and research institutions interested in expanding in the field of Bioinformatics. Two days of intense integration through one on one meetings. In Israel the two leading fields, biotechnology and computer sciences are integrating in the field of bioinformatics. Due to Israel's enormous achievements in the high-tech sector, bioinformatics is potentially its new upcoming force. There are already several Platform Technology Companies, specializing in Genomics, Bioinformatics (Compugen, QBI) and in Computer-aided molecular design developing new drug generations (Synergics, BTG, Green Care). It is one of the countries, which has started a national center for bioinformatics, including computer networking for genome data mining, protein modeling and drug design. The potential of this new field is evident by the fact that in the past two years the number of biotechnology companies in Israel has increased by 35% and sales have climbed 79%. Israel's Research and Development in Bioinformatics is leading edge. In The Netherlands bioinformatics is an upcoming market with many companies looking to invest in this new exciting field. Many Dutch companies are opening new bioinformatics departments and universities are placing more emphasis on this new sector. Large companies are looking towards Israel for their potential investments. Smaller companies and research institutions are interested in combining Dutch and Israeli knowledge for new R&D projects. Incentives in Genomics/Bioinformatics Genomics - research into the structure and function of genes - is also being encouraged by a research program in which companies and public research institutions work together. Part of the BioPartner Program's budget has been allocated for scientific research in this area. The 20th of June 2000 the scientific and business community in the Netherlands presented the Strategic Plan of Action for Genomics to the Government. It was stated that for innovation and reinforcement of the infrastructure for knowledge in The Netherlands in the field of Genomics. Two programs (Genomics and Biomolecular Informatics, totally 35 million US dollars) already started in the fall of 2000. Genomics/Bioinformatics General Genomics Research in the field of genomics and proteomics is currently converging on the functions of genes and expressed proteins.The scope of technologies in the fields of genomics and proteomics is expanding rapidly; also the amount of related data is exploding. The challenge in genomics and proteomics lies in the optimal mix of problem definition, experimental approaches and data handling. Retrieval and analysis of the right data from the right sources at the right time is of essential importance. Tailor-made information can be obtained from a custom-made integration of home-generated and existing data bases and intellect. That means that storage, integration and analysis of data (data mining) is essential. Bioinformatics is essential in exploiting genomics and proteomics data, including systematic approaches to pattern recognition. The contribution of genomics and proteomics to the identification of new molecular targets for drug action is increasing steadily. It is estimated that the human genome will reveal ultimately at least 1500 and possibly 10.000 novel (protein) targets for potential drugs. Proteomics is a powerful tool. It monitors directly the level of protein expression in cells and facilitate easily the identification of the protein molecules. It holds particular promise in drug discovery, in discovery of disease markers, in the validation of new disease targets and in toxicology. Genomics/Bioinformatics Links in Israel

Israeli Genomics/Bioinformatics companies

Genomics/Bioinformatics Links in The Netherlands

Dutch Subsidies information on Genomics/Bioinformatics

Life Sciences: Universities and Institutes


Universities and Institutes in Israel Biotechnology requires rich academic soil in which to grow. More than any other high-tech industry, it must be nurtured carefully by the often long, arduous and expensive process of research. This characteristic makes Israel well placed to succeed in biotechnology with 35% of the country's researchers involved in the life sciences. There have already been some remarkable university-driven commercial applications for Israeli biotechnology research. Universities

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem also allocates major resources to the Life Sciences. The University's Biotechnology and Fermentation Laboratory is often held up as a model for a new generation of Precompetitive Industrial Research Centers (PRIC), in which industrial and academic scientists can work together on problems of scaleup and feasibility testing. Among successes in recent years a team of HU researchers has created a new material - bioactive sol-gel glass - for immobilizing enzymes and other bio-organic molecules. The immobilized enzymes can even acts as biosensors in medical or environmental applications. Another HU success is in the area of steroids. Researchers in Jerusalem have encapsulated steroids in microscopic vesicles where they are more accessible to chemical interactions. Yissum Technology is the University's technology transfer company. One recent biotechnology commercial success in the area of bio-informatics based on HU know-how is Keryx. This Jerusalem start-up has developed a mathematical formula that harnesses raw genome data. Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv University's Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology also conducts prolific research in these disciplines. Recombinant microbial biopolymers have been developed for treating oil pollution and metal contamination in natural water, while new classes of antibacterial and antifungal drugs have been devised based on novel pathogen biochemistry. Another key link between the University and industry is exemplified by studies in bioprocessing in which enzymes are used for the controlled degradation of cellulose. In diagnostics research cell sorting technologies are used to enable rapid identification of human microbial pathogens. Tel Aviv's technology transfer company is Ramot. Ben Gurion University One of the country's youngest biotechnology centers is at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva. The Institute of Applied Life-Sciences (scheduled to become the National Research Center for Biotechnology) specializes in bio-materials, bio-sensors and bio environmental projects. Among projects sold to industry by the University's technology transfer company - B.G. Negev Technologies and Applications are a polysaccharine compound sold to Frutarom, a sugar compound acquired by global cosmetics firm Esti Lauder as an additive and the development of coral as a bone substitute. Bar Ilan University Bar Ilan University has developed, among many projects, a drug delivery system for Alzheimer's disease. Bar Ilan University has its own technology-transfer company -Bar Ilan Research & Development Co. Ltd. The Technion The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa is also one of the country's leaders in creating new industrial biotechnologies and moving them into industry. Among recent endeavors a process has been developed for the elimination of toxic metals for drinking water and industrial effluents. The Technion R&D Foundation is responsible for technology transfer agreements at the university has been Rademate Ltd., which is developing RBHM - a hydrophobic, strong, inexpensive and fully compostable, biodegradable composite material that is environmentally friendly. The Weizmann Institute of Science The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot pioneered biotechnology in Israel and continues to do so today. InterPharm's leading product, bulk recombinant human interferon-beta-1a for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, was developed the Weizmann Institute's Department of Molecular Genetics. As a result of the Weizmann Institute's endeavors, the neighboring Kiryat Weizmann Science Park has become the national center of the country's biotechnology industry with the largest companies based there. Today the Weizmann Institute is contributing to the international Human Genome Project. One of the contributions of the Bioinformatics Unit in the Department of Molecular Genetics is the study of mutated genes which cause such disorders as Down's Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease. Weizmann Institute has its own technology-transfer company - Yeda Research and is also associated with the Pamot Venture Capital Fund, which holds right of first opportunity over any project under development by the Institute. Current biotechnology investments include Gamida Cell, developing technologies for ex-vivo expansion and manipulation of stem cells in bone marrow and BALM Pharmaceuticals, developing a proprietary platform technology utilizing diasteriomeric peptides. The Vulcani Institute (Agricultural Research Organization) The Ministry of Agriculture's Vulcani Center - Agricultural Research Organization near Tel Aviv. Vulcani has its own technology-transfer company - Kidum. Tel Hai Academic College/Migal Tel Hai Academic College has its own mini biotechnology incubator. Start-up companies include Galim, which has developed platform generic technologies for libraries of monoclonal anti-bodies, Sensis (together with Tel Aviv University), which is developing sequencers for DNA which are smaller, cheaper and more portable than existing devices, and Bioview, which is developing diagnostic equipment which uses image processing. Migal Galilee Technological Center is a part of the Tel Hai Academic College, is an applied research institute, specializing in biotechnology, agriculture and environmental sciences. Migal has developed recombinant vaccines for the treatment of Gambero disease in poultry, which is being sold by Abic. Migal's technology transfer company is GAVISH(Gavish Galilee Bio applications Ltd.) GAVISH is a Management and Holding Company that holds the exclusive rights to commercialize intellectual property developed at MIGAL Research Institute for biotech innovation. Universities and Institutes in The Netherlands Eight of the 15 universities in The Netherlands are engaged in biotechnology research shared between the research schools and the Centre for Biomedical Genetics. A number of public research institutes are also active in this field, among them being the Wageningen, Utrecht, Groningen, Leiden and Maastricht.

 

Life Sciences: Links


European biotechnology general

Israelibiotechnology general

Dutch biotechnology general

Universities and Institutes in Israel

Universities and Institutes in The Netherlands Click here to follow links of Universities and Institutes in The Netherlands.

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