The Israel Project
Jerusalem Office
Tel: 972 2 623-6427
Fax: 972 2 623-6439
www.theisraelproject.org
Twitter: @israelproje...
About TIP 3
Introduction 4
Communications 4
Biotechnology 6
Nanotechnology 8
Binational Industrial Research and Developmen...
The Israel Project (TIP) is a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle
East to pres...
throughout; what early and recent generations have in common is that both have managed to create
astonishing new blossoms ...
has grown into the largest non-governmental defense electronics company in Israel. The company and its
subsidiaries have b...
Biotechnology
Given the biblical command to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) and Israel’s intense focus on life
sciences,...
Protalix Biotherapeutics creates recombinant therapeutic proteins to treat illnesses as diverse as
Gaucher’s disease (whic...
Medical Devices
The groundbreaking flexible wire mesh stents that are revolutionizing treatment of heart disease were
desi...
Nanonics Imaging is a leading supplier of combined near-field
optical microscopes (NSOM) and atomic force microscopes
(AFM...
The BIRD model
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Israeli Hi-Tech Innovation

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Israel’s transition from struggling agrarian upstart to pulsing hi-tech superpower is often mentioned with a certain wistful, nostalgic longing. In reality, though, the pioneering spirit of Israel has remained throughout; what early and recent generations have in common is that both have managed to create astonishing new blossoms in the place of barren wastelands.
Some have even undergone that transformation personally. Dan Vilenski, for example, picked oranges in the orchards near his home in Binyamina as a boy. Over the past 40 years, he has led several hi-tech companies, championed government investment in local hi-tech research, and headed the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative.
The unique way in which Israeli hi-tech companies influence global markets is not through their size, but through their innovation. Rather than establishing the largest companies in a given field, Israelis repeatedly manage to introduce technologies and create products that set worldwide industry standards. Through both homegrown companies and local branches of international firms, Israel has been the source of a long list of breakthroughs in dozens of hi-tech fields.
Israeli communications innovations include the first telephone line doubler, the first commercial voice-over-Internet phone (VoIP) technology, the first consumer product for instant online chat, and much more.

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Israeli Hi-Tech Innovation

  1. 1. The Israel Project Jerusalem Office Tel: 972 2 623-6427 Fax: 972 2 623-6439 www.theisraelproject.org Twitter: @israelproject Facebook: www.facebook.com/theisraelproject Youtube: www.youtube.com/tipinfo Israeli Hi-Tech Innovation TABLE OF CONTENTS
  2. 2. About TIP 3 Introduction 4 Communications 4 Biotechnology 6 Nanotechnology 8 Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) 10 Updated 20120228 ABOUT TIP
  3. 3. The Israel Project (TIP) is a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle East to press, public officials and the public. The Israel Project is not affiliated with any government. Our team of trusted Middle East multi-lingual experts and former reporters provides journalists and leaders with fact sheets, backgrounders and sources. TIP regularly hosts press briefings featuring leading Israeli spokespeople and analysts that give journalists an opportunity to get information and answers to their questions face-to-face. By providing journalists with the facts, context and visuals they need, TIP enables hundreds of millions of people around the world to see a more positive public face of Israel. This helps protect Israel, reduce anti-Semitism and increase pride in Israel. The Jerusalem Office The Israel Project's (TIP) Jerusalem Office is a non-governmental resource working with foreign journalists and leaders based in Israel. It provides reporters and members of the diplomatic community with needed facts and information before they file their stories/reports. TIP's Jerusalem team features several Middle East experts and former journalists. TIP's Israel team, led by Marcus Sheff, includes experts who are fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German, Farsi and Russian. Contacts Marcus Sheff Executive Director Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9177 E-mail: marcuss@theisraelproject.org David Harris Director of Research and Content Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9498 E-mail: davidh@theisraelproject.org Eli Ovits Director of Communications Tel: 972 2 623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9093 E-mail: elio@theisraelproject.org Shimrit Meir-Gilboa Director of Arabic Media Program Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-801-5982 E-mail: shimritm@theistraelproject.org Sharon Segel Communications Associate – Media Cell: 972 54-807-9078 E-mail: sharons@theisraelproject.org Ronit Shebson Senior Communications Associate – Leaders Cell: 972 54-807-9065 E-mail: ronits@theisraelproject.org Shai Oseran Media Tours Coordinator Cell: 972 54-803-3471 E-mail: shaio@theisraelproject.org Arik Agassi Communications Specialist – Tours & Events Cell: 972 551 7376 E-mail: arika@theisraelproject.org Dor Kaidar Communications Associate – Media Cell: 972 54-7004812 E-mail: Dorka@theisraelproject.org Paul Shindman Research and Content Associate Cell: 972 52-807-9187 E-mail: Pauls@theisraelproject.org Introduction Israel’s transition from struggling agrarian upstart to pulsing hi-tech superpower is often mentioned with a certain wistful, nostalgic longing. In reality, though, the pioneering spirit of Israel has remained
  4. 4. throughout; what early and recent generations have in common is that both have managed to create astonishing new blossoms in the place of barren wastelands. Some have even undergone that transformation personally. Dan Vilenski, for example, picked oranges in the orchards near his home in Binyamina as a boy. Over the past 40 years, he has led several hi-tech companies, championed government investment in local hi-tech research, and headed the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative. The unique way in which Israeli hi-tech companies influence global markets is not through their size, but through their innovation. Rather than establishing the largest companies in a given field, Israelis repeatedly manage to introduce technologies and create products that set worldwide industry standards. Through both homegrown companies and local branches of international firms, Israel has been the source of a long list of breakthroughs in dozens of hi-tech fields. Israeli communications innovations include the first telephone line doubler, the first commercial voice- over-Internet phone (VoIP) technology, the first consumer product for instant online chat, and much more. Israeli biotech ingenuity has produced first-of-its kind technologies in medical imaging and drug therapies, and Israeli nanotech is creating groundbreaking new materials, textiles, and even artificial body parts. As with several other hi-tech industries, Israeli communications, biotechnology, and nanotechnology have benefitted from a crossover from military to civilian technology and significant government funding for research and development. Of course, it helps that Israel has the highest percentage of engineers in the world, that it rates fourth in the world in patent generation per capita, and that the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on hi-tech incubators and research grants that have turned academics into businessmen. Communications Israel is an intensely in-touch country, with one of the highest numbers of cell phone subscribers per 1,000 people in the world. But communications also accounts for nearly one-fourth of Israel’s hi-tech exports, including contributions from local offices of multinational corporations as well as more than 1,000 local start-ups. Military Communications The Israeli communications field is a perfect illustration of how early investment in military technological research led to outstanding private industry. A prime example is Elbit. Starting out in the 1960s as a marriage of Defense Ministry research and the Elron company’s electronic products know-how, Elbit Primesense adds an element of fun with its fabless semiconductor technologies. Its sensors allow computer games to read body movements. An Elbit flight simulator
  5. 5. has grown into the largest non-governmental defense electronics company in Israel. The company and its subsidiaries have been responsible for some of the most significant advances in both military and civilian technology, from cutting-edge avionics for fighter jets and the Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles to groundbreaking medical imaging such as some of the earliest computerized tomography scanners and Partner, Israel’s first GSM cellular phone company. Another example is Tadiran. Originally focusing on household appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, Tadiran expanded to become one of the world’s largest suppliers of lithium batteries. It also developed advanced communications equipment for military use, becoming one of the world’s largest suppliers of high-frequency and very-high-frequency tactical radio systems. Ituran, one of Tadiran’s subsidiaries, turned location technology developed originally for the military into a leading stolen vehicle recovery product and service. Internet Infrastructure ECI Telecom has pioneered telephone systems, inventing the telephone line doubler, toll-quality VoIP, and more. VoIP technology was invented by VocalTec, while AudioCodes has set industry standards for voice compression technology for transmission over VoIP. Radvision, which developed the core standard of VoiP that enables voice, picture and data to be transmitted via the Internet, is today a world leader in technology for video conferencing and multimedia over the internet. Nice Systems, the first company to utilise VoIP recording technology, is a world leader in multimedia digital recording solutions for business interaction management and security. Comverse, which rose to prominence with a product that allowed police and intelligence agencies to record data from intercepted communications, is now a global leader in voicemail management. Alvarion contributed to the development of the IEEE 802.111 wireless LAN standard. The fiber optics systems of BATM Advanced Communications are relied on by AT&T and Verizon to make data transmission over their cellular networks smooth, fast and safe. When consumers make payments through their cell phones, they are often using mobile commerce technology designed by Cellenium or software from m- Wise. The next generation of communications technology is being developed by companies like ColorChip, which makes photonic integrated circuits that transmit data at increased speeds and with smaller components, and EZchip Semiconductor, which makes high-speed network processors for carrier Ethernet switches and routers. Satellite Communication and Tracking Israeli companies operate from space, too. Gilat Satellite Networks uses VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite communications to provide broadband internet, data, and voice services to customers across the globe. Orbit Communication Systems uses mobile satellite communication in tracking systems for global aircraft, UAV and missile tracking applications. Fiber-optic speedpipe
  6. 6. Biotechnology Given the biblical command to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) and Israel’s intense focus on life sciences, it may seem only natural that the Jewish state stands at the forefront of biotechnology. After all, half of the research funding in Israel goes to life science research, and roughly 60% of all scientific publications are in biology and related fields. But compared to the country’s communications industry, Israel’s biotech industry is a newcomer, having only started to blossom in the 1990s. At first, biotech faced unique challenges in the form of huge costs and lengthy periods of research and development that made it difficult for small start-ups to gain traction. But a high percentage of college graduates in mathematics, physics, and computer sciences gave Israel the human capital necessary to develop a burgeoning industry, and a concerted effort by the government to invest (and attract foreign investment) in Israeli biotech have borne fruit over the past decade. Whereas there were only two biotech companies to speak of during the 1980s, there are now several hundred. Pharmaceuticals Easily the most recognizable of Israel’s biotech firms is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. A true juggernaut in the field, Teva is not only Israel’s leading drug company, it is the world’s largest maker of generic pharmaceuticals, with global sales in excess of $16 billion in 2010. The company’s proprietary drug Copaxone has become the world’s best-selling treatment for multiple sclerosis treatment. Compugen, founded by three graduates of an elite IDF unit less than 20 years ago, uses computer models to identify candidate therapies and develop proprietary drug therapies quickly. Although it specializes in immunology and oncology, Compugen has also spun off Evogene, which uses the company’s predictive computer models to advance agricultural biotech. ORLocate from Haldor Advanced Technologies is the first commercially available system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to methodically track, manage and analyze usage patterns of surgical instruments, before, during and post-surgical procedure. The system provides hospitals and sterilization centers a return on investment, promotes lean management and enhances patient safety.
  7. 7. Protalix Biotherapeutics creates recombinant therapeutic proteins to treat illnesses as diverse as Gaucher’s disease (which is particularly common among Ashkenazi Jews) and the effects of weaponized nerve agents. Several Israeli companies are working to treat or defeat cancer. Biocancell, founded in 2004 by a molecular biology professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, develops targeted cancer therapies that are showing promise in fighting pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Biokine, building on the work of a Hadassah Hospital stem cell researcher, is designing drugs that it, too, hopes will treat various forms cancer. In Ness Ziona, D-Pharm has created new drugs that are proving themselves in advanced clinical trials for the treatment of stroke, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. Other Therapies BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics uses stem cell technologies to treat currently incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS and spinal cord injuries. Galil Medical is a leading cryoablation company, using extreme cold to remove benign and malignant cancer cells. Where severe burns char skin and tissue, making treatment of the healthy tissue beneath difficult, MediWound has introduced a gel that safely and swiftly removes the damaged tissue so that the underlying healthy tissue can repair the wound. Similarly, Regentis Biomaterials develops biodegradable hydrogels that can repair damaged cartilage and bone. Medical imaging Given Imaging has pioneered capsule endoscopy, with a minute pill-shaped camera that detects gastrointestinal disorders. PillCam is sold in more than 60 countries. Given Imaging is part of the same Elron conglomerate, mentioned above, that became a world leader in medical imaging and the world’s largest manufacturer of laser instruments for various surgeries. Odin Medical Technologies (founded in Yokneam in 1995 but since acquired and renamed Medtronic) developed PoleStar, the first intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging platform designed for a standard operating room. So compact that it can be wheeled to the patient table and stored underneath the table when not in use, PoleStar is designed to give doctors diagnostic and navigative imaging during intracranial operations. Applied Spectral Imaging, founded in 1993, makes GenASIs – an advanced microscopy imaging platform that provides state-of-the-art diagnostics for pathology and cytogenic imaging. Teva has a rich history, which predates the state of Israel Polyheal is available in Israel and Europe Chrons Disease as seen up close by Given Imaging’s camera in a capsule
  8. 8. Medical Devices The groundbreaking flexible wire mesh stents that are revolutionizing treatment of heart disease were designed by Israeli company InStent (which has since been acquired by Medtronic). NESS developed the Handmaster, a device that emits electrical impulses that stimulate muscular development in the hands of patients who have suffered a stroke. Early Sens (photo left) continuously monitors heart rate, respiratory and movement without ever touching the patients. The contact-free sensing capabilities and immediate data transfer enable nurses to proactively provide personalized patient care and potentially prevent adverse events. Through continuous patient supervision, the system can help staff reduce the risk of patient falls and effectively work towards decreasing other adverse events, such as pressure ulcers. Nanopass is working to take away the anxiety of immunization shots with the MicronJet, a nearly painless needle that can inject medications into the skin despite being much smaller (and therefore much less painful) than traditional needles. Nanotechnology It’s no wonder that Israel, one of the world’s smallest countries, is at the forefront of nanotechnology. And it is no secret that President Shimon Peres – one of the world’s “youngest” octogenarians – is an enthusiastic supporter of Israeli nanotech. In 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI made an official visit to Israel, Peres presented the pontiff with a copy of the bible etched onto a tiny silicon chip only 1 centimeter thick. Though the “nano-bible” itself was no larger than a grain of sand, it contained all 1.2 million Hebrew letters, engraved in gold atoms. Energy 3G Solar (formerly Orionsolar) is a developer of low-cost solar energy using new generation dye cell photovoltaics. Dye cells generate electricity from solar energy using nano-sized titanium dioxide particles impregnated with dye, rather than from silicon or similar semiconductors. The company has substantially reduced the cost of dye cells and increased the cell size. Materials Fulcrum SP Materials is a nanotechnology company dealing with composite materials. The company is the only one in the world that uses a propriety protein to coat and bind nano-particles to fabrics, and to disperse nano-particles in matrixes and adhesives and by that, to enhance the performance of such fabrics and adhesives. The goals are stronger and lighter composite materials. Medical Applications Do-Coop Technologies has developed an innovative, nanotechnology-based system called Neowater. Neowater is a commercially available broad enabling platform upon which research, diagnostics, biotech and pharma companies can obtain disruptive price-performance results and overcome current technology barriers with an elegant implementation.
  9. 9. Nanonics Imaging is a leading supplier of combined near-field optical microscopes (NSOM) and atomic force microscopes (AFM). Nicast develops superior medical devices from electrospun nanofabric for a wide range of clinical applications. Electrospun nanofabric is a biomaterial made of ultra-thin polymer fibers, with properties that mimic those of human tissues and organs. Sol-Gel Technologies encapsulates, at room temperature, active ingredients in micro- and nano-sized glass (silica) matrices as well as nanospheres utilizing a chemical process called sol-gel. SoluBest, a drug delivery company developing enhanced and improved therapeutic medicines in several fields. Solubest is using advanced polymer formulations to prepare nanotransporters for drugs having delivery or compliance insufficiencies. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) The Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) was established by the US and Israeli governments in 1977 to generate mutually beneficial cooperation between the private sectors of the US and Israeli hi-tech industries. BIRD provides matchmaking services between US and Israeli companies, as well as funding that covers up to 50 percent of project development and product commercialization costs. BIRD’s scope extends to Communications, Life Sciences, Electronics, Electro-optics, Software, Homeland Security, Renewable and Alternative Energy and other sectors of the hi-tech industry. Since its inception, BIRD has funded more than 830 projects in total and more than 235 different projects since 2001 alone. Nanonics Imaging’s thermo-resistance Imaging of a chip
  10. 10. The BIRD model

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