Second Round Success: Massachusetts and Israel continue to support R&D collaborations in the life sciences
Funding to be awarded to two research & development (R&D) collaborations in the life sciences field
TEL AVIV, Israel – June 11, 2013 – MATIMOP, the Israeli implementation agency, on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in the Ministry of Economy, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced at the Biomed-IL conference in Tel Aviv the second round of grants awarded under the Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership (MIIP). MIIP is a formal collaboration between the State of Israel and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship between Massachusetts’ and Israel’s life sciences, clean energy and technology sectors. The funding authorities in both states recently approved two life sciences research and development (R&D) collaborations between Massachusetts and Israeli companies, with a total R&D budget of over $2 million.
“In order to win the future, we must compete for jobs on the global playing field,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Collaborating with Israel helps us secure the investments and develop the partnerships in the innovation industries where we already have an advantage.”
“Our industrial R&D collaboration with Massachusetts continues to create growth opportunities for both states’ innovative industries. We are pleased to witness how this partnership and in particular in the life sciences sector, has been evolving into an established funding framework yielding innovative technologies and solutions,” said Chief Scientist Avi Hasson.
The two winning projects from the second round of MIIP are as follows:
- Bio-Tree Systems (Framingham, Mass.) and Harlan Laboratories (Israel) will work together toward the development of an innovative market application on the pre-clinical research and development space adding a new vascular toxicity and safety measure to existing Drug Toxicology assessing tools and methods. The two companies will address the largely unmet area known as DIVI – Drug Induced Vascular Injury, a major cause of new compound failure late in clinical trials or after-market launch. Bio-Tree will receive an estimated $250,000 from the MLSC, with Harlan receiving funding from the OCS. Bio-Tree, an early revenue life sciences company focuses on the development of precise detection and quantification of the 3D microvascular geometry and morphology in organs and diseased tissue. Harlan is an innovative discovery and preclinical based CRO providing a broad range of services related to biological and pharmaceutical research.
“Receiving funding through MIIP lends tremendous credibility to the field we are pioneering - Vasculomics™ - as an up-and-coming platform for early detection of toxic compounds, to be followed by an Efficacy and Mechanistic detection capability for 50-100 diseases,” said Bio-Tree CEO and President Raul Brauner. “This grant will enable us to build an alliance with Harlan
Laboratories, a global CRO, and through them achieve a global reach, starting with Vasculomics’™ deployment in Israel during early-mid 2014 and subsequently in Massachusetts mid-late 2014, perhaps earlier.”
“In view of the incessant search and endeavors towards expanding the scientific basis as part of Harlan Biotech Israel’s (HBI) wide range of contract research services offered to its ever growing local (Israeli) and foreign clientele involved in biomedical R&D, the lately formed collaboration between BIO-TREE Systems (Framingham, MA- USA) and HARLAN BIOTECH Israel is of particular value in terms of developing unique tools in the area of pre-clinical studies in general and specifically comprises a significant supplemental measure towards the needs for developing an innovative market application targeted at the most decisive aspects of vascular toxicity in respect to prevailing platforms of drug efficacy and safety assessment,” said Nati Ezov, General Manager of HBI.
- Cytonome/ST (Boston) will work with Orgenesis (Israel) to combine a novel source of cells to be used in a self-replacement therapy technology with an efficient and reproducible separation and enrichment technology to create functional Autologous Insulin production cells. Cytonome/ST will receive $250,000 from the MLSC, with Orgenesis receiving funding from the OCS. Cytonome/ST develops cell detection and purification systems for biomedicine, bioindustry and bioscience. The company’s areas of expertise include optics, microfluidics, mechanical engineering, software development, electronics and cytometry. Orgenesis is a development stage company with a novel therapeutic technology dedicated to converting a patient’s own liver cells into functioning insulin-producing cells as a treatment for diabetes.
“We were delighted to hear that Cytonome/ST will receive a Massachusetts Israel Innovation Partnership Program award,” said John C. Sharpe, CEO of Cytonome/ST, LLC. “We are grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for this vote of confidence and for the time the review panel and staff devoted to this process. We are excited for the opportunity to work with Orgenesis on a program that we believe will have significant impact for our respective organizations and broader benefits for Massachusetts through Cytonome/ST’s growth.”
“CytonomeST's demonstrated expertise in helping translate cellular therapies from the laboratory to the clinic makes it a strong R&D collaboration partner for Orgenesis,” commented Jacob BenArie, CEO of Orgenesis Ltd. “We look forward to building a successful relationship with CytonomeST under the MIIP umbrella as we continue to work towards initiating clinical trials of our technology.”
Massachusetts is the first U.S. state to establish a significant industrial R&D program with the State of Israel. MIIP was first announced in June 2011 at the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C., and the first joint solicitation for proposals was launched in September 2011 by MATIMOP on the Israeli side and by the three participating Massachusetts agencies: the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). Massachusetts and Israeli companies that are engaged in cooperative industrial research and development projects, and that were selected for funding within the MIIP framework, were awarded R&D grants, respectively, by the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel and the three Massachusetts agencies participating in the program during the first round of MIIP.
The partnership came as a direct result of Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Innovation Economy Partnership Mission, a 10-day trade mission in March 2011 that included travel to Israel, where a coalition of the state’s leading business executives and senior government officials explored growth opportunities of common interest for Massachusetts’ and Israel’s innovation industries. During that mission Governor Patrick and the Israeli Minister of Economy, on behalf of their respective states, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Jerusalem. MIIP was established to implement the MOU’s framework.
“This partnership was a direct result of the Governor’s 2011 trade mission to Israel, and it has become a very successful model for using collaboration to expedite the process of innovation,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “The Life Sciences Center is pleased to be funding two innovative R&D projects in the second round of this program, both of which hold promise to improve human health in significant ways.”
“MIIP served as the first constructive R&D framework between Israel and a US state enabling companies from both regions to develop strong commercial partnerships,” said Michel Hivert, Director General of MATIMOP. “At the same time, the program is serving as a pioneer in the field accelerating the formation of additional funding frameworks between Israel and other US states. We see great value in continuing to support and nurture these joint R&D initiatives that enable companies to forge solid partnerships based on IP sharing. In addition, these collaboration tracks allow for companies to maintain their competitive edge by commercializing innovative products and by shortening the time to market.”
Today there are nearly 100 companies with Israeli founders or Israeli-licensed technologies in Massachusetts. In 2009, these companies employed nearly 6,000 people and generated $2.4 billion in direct revenue for the state. Local firms exported over $180 million worth of goods to Israel in 2009. Home to 377 hospitals and 37,000 practicing physicians, Israel is an important market for health-related technologies.
The MLSC’s recently-launched International Collaborative Industry Program (ICIP) seeks to promote collaboration and idea exchange between life sciences companies around the world, as well as to stimulate the development of new products or processes intended for commercialization. This new program is based on the successful model of collaboration between Massachusetts and Israel. The MLSC anticipates launching in early 2014 another international program that will continue the collaboration with Israel.
A second round of MIIP is now underway involving MassCEC, and a new funding round will be shortly announced involving the MTC.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.
About the Office of the Chief Scientist
The Office of the Chief Scientist [OCS] in the Ministry of Economy is charged with execution of government policy for support of industrial R&D. The goal of the OCS is to assist in the development of technology in Israel as a means of fostering economic growth, encouraging technological innovation and entrepreneurship, leveraging Israel’s scientific potential, enhancing the knowledge base of industry in Israel, stimulating high value-added R&D and encouraging R&D collaboration both nationally and internationally. A variety of ongoing support programs developed and offered by the OCS play a major role in enabling Israel to be a key center for high tech entrepreneurship. For more information, visit the OCS website.
MATIMOP, the executive agency of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), of the Ministry of Economy of Israel is the official National Agency for industrial R&D cooperation in Israel, charged with promoting highly supportive policies to build Israel's industrial infrastructure, and nurturing industrial innovation and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.matimop.org.il.
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Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
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Manager – Israel-North America R&D Initiatives
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