from the June 2009 issue

Healthcare, environment companies get OCS funds

The incubator technologies committee, chaired by Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper, approved funding for four new ventures at its last meeting. The companies are in medical devices, software, and water technologies.

MDC, based at the Dimona-based incubator Rotem Industries Ltd., is developing innovative membranes for recycling water. The market recycling household, municipal, and industrial waste water is currently estimated at tens of billions of dollars, and is growing rapidly. Water recycling involves heavy operating and maintenance costs, hence the need for improving the process.

TACount, based at Kinarot-Jordan Valley Technology Incubator, is developing technology to identify and count microorganisms in samples.

Colongate, based at Misgav Technology Center, is developing a medical alternative for people suffering from stoma problems following a colostomy.

Concealium Software Ltd., based at Naiot Venture Accelerator in Yokne'am, is developing an information security solution for enterprises, irrespective of format or storage system. The solution will be for Software as a Service (SaaS) systems.

The Technical Incubators Program director said that the incubator technologies committee discussed 41 applications for new ventures during the first quarter, and that it approved 31 of them. NIS 53 million was approved for the programs, one third of the Technical Incubators Program's budget for 2009.

Elbit Systems unit, General Dynamics in UAV joint venture Joint venture UAS Dynamics solutions will be based on Elbit's Hermes and Skylark systems.

Defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) US subsidiary Elbit Systems of America, LLC, and a General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) unit have formed a joint venture to build unmanned aerial systems for the US military.

The General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products and Elbit venture will be named UAS Dynamics, LLC. The solutions that UAS Dynamics will offer are based on Elbit-designed unmanned aerial vehicles that have accumulated more than 150,000 operational flight hours to date: the Hermes and Skylark systems.

The venture expects to provide unmanned aerial systems to the Department of Defense and other potential US government customers through programs such as the recently announced US Marine Corps' small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS)/Tier II program.

UAS Dynamics is equally owned by Elbit Systems of America and General Dynamics and is located in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Elbit's orders backlog totaled $5.091 billion at the end of the quarter, compared with $5.03 billion as of December 31, 2008. Approximately 67% of the backlog relates to orders outside of Israel. Israeli Life Sciences Companies Receive Largest Share of Seed and Early-Stage Hi-Tech Investments in First Quarter of 2009

Significant financial backing for Israel's life sciences industry.
Ahead of next month's ILSI-Biomed Israel Conference, IVC survey reveals significant financial backing for Israel's life sciences industry.

Biomed Israel Conference, Israel's premier life sciences event, announced that a survey conducted by the Israel Venture Capital Research Center (IVC) ahead of the ILSI-Biomed Conference (June 15-17) showed Israel-based life sciences companies received the largest share of seed- and early-stage investments in the Israeli hi-tech industry in the first quarter of 2009, with 43 and 34 percent of all hi-tech investments respectively.

Twenty-five seed and early-stage life sciences companies raised $50 million in the first quarter of 2009, equaling 24% of the capital raised in the entire hi-tech industry. Medical device companies raised $28 million, 56% of the total capital raised in the life science sector, and 11% of the capital raised in all hi-tech sectors.

The IVC survey, conducted across the entire Israeli hi-tech industry, also revealed that the life sciences industry in Israel raised the third highest amount of funds over the first quarter, totaling 19% of all hi-tech capital raised during the quarter.

"These results, appearing only weeks before the ILSI-Biomed Conference, highlight how important the biomedical and life-sciences industries have become, even during the economic slowdown," said Ruti Alon, ILSI Chairperson. "The clear interest and financial support reaching the life-sciences industry makes the ILSI-Biomed Israel conference even more important, giving international CEOs, experts, academics, scientists, researchers, venture capitalists and angel investors the opportunity to gather together to provide and gain insight into the future of the BioPharma and Medical Device industries."

The $50 million raised by life sciences companies, however is 66% lower than the $147 million raised by 21 companies in the first quarter of 2008 and 23% lower than the $65 million raised in the last quarter of 2008.

The total raised by medical device companies represents a decline of 56% in comparison to the first quarter of 2008 where 14 medical device companies raised $63 million and a drop of 3% in comparison to the last quarter of 2008 in which nine such companies raised $29 million.

"Despite the decrease in capital raising from 2008, the fact that we are continuing to see strong investments in Israeli seed- and early-stage life sciences companies shows a lot of promise for the future of this sector," said Alon. "Next month's ILSI-Biomed Conference will provide many of the country's seed- and early-stage life sciences companies with an opportunity to showcase their technology and to attract investments."

ILSI-Biomed Israel, set to take place June 15-17, 2009, is the leading international conference covering the fast-growing field of innovation in the biomedical, health care and life sciences industries. The lectures and panels at the conference will provide insightful outlooks on biomedical opportunities, including discussions such as medical technological breakthroughs in a time of economic turmoil, investment strategy in a time of crisis, facing the change of regulation and legislation in the U.S. markets, impact of new FDA regulation on development of new medical devices, and cardiovascular therapies in 2020.

David Arzi, Chairman of the Board, Israel Institute for Export and International Cooperation states that as a result of the International Global Crisis, the export of agricultural inputs from Israel is expected to decrease.

Nonetheless, it Agritech is estimated that at the Agritech Exhibition, business transactions worth approximately 40 Million Dollars will take place in the area of agricultural inputs. "The government needs to create affordable lines of credit for exporters in the field in order to double sales to developing countries yet the global food crisis creates an extraordinary opportunity for Israeli exporters to increase their sales worldwide thanks to Israeli technologies which are expert at increasing efficiency"

"Despite the 10% increase in export of agricultural inputs from Israel in 2008 totaling 2 Billion Dollars, the Export Institute estimates that due to the global financial crisis, a total stand still is expected this year in export of agricultural inputs. However, at the beginning of 2010 we expect a recovery in demands, among other reasons due to the severe lack of food and water in many areas of the world" says David Arzi, Chairman of the Export Institute at the Opening of Agritech 2009.

Arz estimates that on Exhibition's Opening day at the Tel Aviv Fair grounds, attended by hundreds of buyers and agriculture professionals from around the world, business deals will be signed for about $40m. According to the Export Institute, which is responsible for marketing the Exhibition overseas, about 65 delegations from around 35 countries are expected to attend. Among the delegations there are seven delegations from Chin and four from India. Furthermore, over 20 Ministers of Agriculture are expected to participate from many countries including: Argentina, Belarus, Brazil Colombia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and others.

Arzi pointed out that insurance of short and medium term foreign trade risks is critical for this field and he called upon the government to create affordable credit lines for exporters in the field in order to accelerate the signing of financial protocols with developing countries in Africa, Latin America, Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Through these measures, Arzi believes, it will be possible to double the field's exports to emerging markets and create a revolution in the field of agricultural inputs.

Studies carried out at the Export Institute show that 200 exporters in the field of agriculture export presently to more than 100 countries worldwide. About 45% of the export is directed towards Europe, 20% towards the USA, 16% towards South America and 11% towards Asia and other countries including Ethiopia, Angola, Kenya and the Former Soviet Union.

During the Agritech 2009 Exhibition, which is jointly organized by the Israel Export & Interantional Cooperation Institute, The Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University, an International Symposium will be held on the topic of "The Global food Crisis and its Ramifications. The symposium will be attended by government officials and guests from overseas. The purpose of the symposium is to raise the dilemmas concerning the food situation and to position Israeli technologies in the field as the global leaders that they are.

According to Arzi, Israel is justifiably perceived as a leader in technologies for increasing efficiency in use of agricultural inputs and increasing agricultural production.

In its 61 years of existence the State of Israel has succeeded in increasing agricultural production 20 fold, while the labor force in the field has decreased from 17% of those employed to only 2.5%. Furthermore, Israel has prudently learned to produce more, much more in dollar terms, from each given cubic meter of water, from each pair of working hands and from every bit of land, while significantly improving efficiency and production. Israel has registered records in the production of milk and eggs, greenhouse flowers, recycling of water for agriculture and the growing of tomatoes in salty water, among others. These abilities of Israel are very much coveted in the world. The Export Institute's challenge is to increase exports of Israeli agricultural technologies from $2b in 2008 to $2.5b. in 2011.

In 2008, delegations and business people in the field of agricultural inputs, aided by the Export Institute, traveled to Romania, Thailand, Vietnam and India. Last year, with the assistance of the Institute, about twenty delegations from around the world were hosted in Israel in the areas of irrigation, greenhouses, milk farms, seeds, poultry and others. This year, the Export Institute is arranging delegations of businesspeople in the field of agriculture inputs to Romania, South Africa, India, China, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and other countries.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2009

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