from the July 2006 issue

BGU to cooperate with Invitrogen to Produce Products for the Biotech/Pharma Market

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev recently signed an agreement with Invitrogen Corporation to produce products for the Biotech/Pharma research and production market using an alginate scaffold developed by Prof. Smadar Cohen. and her research team. According to the agreement with Invitrogen Corporation, an international biotech company will develop products that will be used to promote tri-dimensional cell growth, based on alginate scaffolds, a natural polymer derived from algae.

Prof. Smadar Cohen, chairperson of the Department of Biotechnology Engineering and a member of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, and her team developed a polymer scaffold made from the natural polysaccharide Alginate, a natural substance derived from algae. The unique process of creating the Alginate scaffold enabled Prof. Cohen to create an extra-cellular matrix, possessing a porous shape and structure with mechanical reinforcement, enabling the preservation of its shape under the weight of the growing cells. The Alginate scaffold is used to create a wide range of different tissues, through the use of cells from different sources. An implantation of endothelium (a layer of thin, flat cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels), enables the creation of capillary blood vessels. Cardiomyocytes implanted into the Alginate have been shown to start beating 24 hours after implantation. Prof. Cohen's team, has recently shown that the Alginate scaffold not only provides the optimal greenhouse for specific cells from different sources, but even helps stem cell expansion and differentiation.

Invitrogen Corporation provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide in their efforts to improve the human condition. Invitrogen employs approximately 4,800 people worldwide with over $1.2 B sales in 2005.

Israel planning "Arrow Mark 4" plse use graphic Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. (IAI) subsidiary Elta Group, the Israel Air Force, and Ministry of Defense are designing components for the Arrow Mark IV, which will have qualitatively better performance than current versions. The Arrow upgrade is one response to the threat posted by conventional or nuclear armed Iranian ballistic missiles, says "Defense News", citing Israeli defense sources.

The Arrow Mark IV will have a new radar unit, improved interceptor missiles, and other components that will convert the system from a theatre anti-ballistic missile defense system into an integrated nationwide anti-ballistic missile defense system. An official Ministry of Defense source said the new radar would turn the Arrow Mark IV into a completely holographic system, which will enable control of interceptor missiles from any location. Elta is developing the Arrow Mark IV radar, the Green Pine I, which will have a much deeper monitoring range than the 700-kilometer range of the existing radar. The new radar is scheduled to enter operational service in 2009.

The Arrow upgrade program is part of Israel's preparations to counter Iran's efforts to develop and produce nuclear weapons. In the coming months, Israel plans to launch its latest spy satellite, which will be able to spot changes on the ground in Iran, even in poor weather conditions and under cloud cover. In a separate development, the Israel Navy is finalizing details of a contract with a German shipyard for two more submarines, which will reinforce Israel's strategic deterrence capability, or launch a retaliatory strike against Iran from the sea in the event of a missile attack.

"Defense News" says that, in recent months, Israeli and US officials have increased the two countries' response coordination, in the event that diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's nuclear efforts fail.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report July 2006

Click HERE to request further information.
Click HERE to go BACK.