Phacilitate Blog: Uncovering Innovation - Phacilitate's trip to Israel
Phacilitate's Jeremy Roden and David Green ventured out to Tel Aviv to lift the lid on the biotech and advanced therapies innovation across the region
Last week my colleague, David, and I travelled to Israel’s beautiful Tel-Aviv to attend the highly rated MIXiii-Biomed 2019 conference to try and uncover more about the region's market size, infrastructure and innovation. I’d like to share with you some of what we discovered.
It’d be remiss of me to leave out the vibrant networking and my pick of the presentations during the conference, for example, the combination of the tech-transfer pavilion and start-up zone was a triumph. As we descended the escalators towards the exhibition, we were met by a hive of activity of around 150 people deep in conversation in one distinct area. To the left, all the major life science tech transfer offices in Israel. To the right, a daily rotation of brand-new start-ups showcasing their vision for the next revolutionary therapeutic or technology. It was time to explore…
Richard King of Goldman Sachs (a pioneer who needs no introduction) gave a 50,000ft view on the global investment trends of life sciences. He devoted nearly half of his presentation to cell and gene therapies and concluded that Goldman Sachs predicts significant growth for cell and gene therapies and mobile health over the next few years. I felt it was an extraordinary endorsement of the field.
Another truly eye-opening presentation was from Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority. He left the audience with a thought-provoking comparison between the length of time it takes a single therapeutic to reach 50 million people (years, if not decades) and a simple application like Pokemon’Go taking just 35 days to reach that number. Yes, it’s a ridiculous rationale but it did open questions as to how digital and mobile health could help speed up treatment timeframes.
Now for the two big questions on Israeli innovation…
What innovation is taking place?
The amount and variety of biotechs on show was impressive for a population of around 8 million. A real smorgasbord of AI, therapeutics, medtech and everything in-between with significant representation within the agenda, which, of course, ticked a lot of boxes for me! Although it wasn’t all in my sweet spot of cell and gene therapies, there was a true sense of entrepreneurialism reinforced by confident investment from regional and international investors. Last year, there was over $1.2billion invested into 135 Israeli life science companies; to put that into context, it represents 25% of the investment the Israeli life sciences market has seen in the last decade.
What is the region excelling in?
The simple answer: AI. Out of the thousands of AI start-ups all over the world, Israel sits at #3 for volume; a truly astonishing feat for a country as small as this. With such an exciting sector drawing huge names like Celgene, Microsoft and Google, we’re sure to see dramatic breakthroughs on the horizon.
I could have gone on to give a huge, in-depth report about everything that took place at the event but I decided instead to provide a little taste of what really matters to us at Phacilitate. We’re here to help accelerate advanced therapies towards treatment for patients. If you think there’s a region we should be investigating and working with or if you’d like to know more about Israel’s infrastructure for biotech, please get in touch.