As every month, VC Cafe is re-posting the “Invest in Israel” Newsletter, published by the investment promotion center of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, which offers many helpful tools for prospecting investors. See the March 2010 edition after the jump. For previous editions, click here.
Medical product giant Baxter International and Israeli biopharmaceutical company Kamada entered into a definitive distribution agreement for Glassia, the first and only liquid, ready-to-use Alpha1-Proteinase inhibitor that treats genetic lung-damaging disorder alpha-1 antitryspin (AAT).
Baxter has committed to buying minimum quantities of Glassia worth around $60 million, and has secured exclusive marketing rights to Kamada’s GLASSIA Alpha 1-Proteinase inhibitor in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Baxter will furthermore pay Kamada royalty payments of at least $5 million a year on net sales of the product produced by Baxter.
Kamada will receive milestone payments of $45 million including an upfront payment of $20 million. Upon meeting certain milestones, Kamada will be eligible to receive up to an additional $25 million.
The companies will also examine licensing of the inhaled version of Glassia, which is currently undergoing clinical trials in Europe. In July Kamada won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a liquid version of Glassia, the first Israeli company to get U.S. clearance for a drug produced by a biologic process rather than a chemical one.
Baxter International Inc develops, manufactures and markets products that treat hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions.
PHARMA GIANT NOVARTIS GAINS EXCLUSIVE WORLD LICENSE FOR ISRAELI QUARK’S KIDNEY DRUG
Privately held Quark Pharmaceuticals Inc licensed its experimental kidney drug to Swiss giant Novartis in a multi-million dollar deal. Novartis obtained the exclusive worldwide license to Quark’s experimental drug QPI-1002 for an upfront payment of $10 million, followed by a slate of milestone payments that could reach as high as $670 million based on developmental achievements.
QPI-1002 is currently in its mid-stage trials and is being developed for the treatment of acute kidney injury in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
Quark focuses on developing drugs based on RNA interference (RNAi), one of the hottest areas of biotechnology research, and is in partnership talks with Big Pharma for its experimental eye drug QPI-1007.
In 2006, Quark established a licensing agreement with Pfizer Inc for another eye drug being developed as a treatment for age-related wet macular deterioration, a leading cause of blindness in the developed world. In June of this year, Quark entered into a collaboration agreement with Japanese diversified materials manufacturer Nitto Denko Corp to develop a treatment for fibrotic diseases using Quark’s technology.
Novartis AG is a Switzerland-based holding that, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of healthcare products.
ISRAELI ECONOMY GROWS 4.7% IN 2ND QUARTER
The Israeli economy grew at its fastest pace in over two years in the second quarter boosted by an increase in consumer spending and exports, surpassing earlier forecasts.
Domestic demand in Israel leaped 8.7 percent in the quarter. Exports, which make up 40-45 percent of economic activity, rose 15.8 percent as sales continued to rebound from the global financial crisis.
Annual inflation fell to a rate of 1.8 percent in July, staying within the official 1 to 3 percent inflation target. The Bank of Israel raised its benchmark lending rate for the fifth time this year to 1.75 percent, in an attempt to combat rising inflationary pressures stemming from surging housing prices.
ISRAEL OFFERS INCENTIVES TO LAUNCH FINANCIAL R&D CENTERS
In order to encourage large financial services companies and international banks to set up financial R&D centers in Israel, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor have established a special incentives program.
The government will provide 40% of the plan’s total budget approved by the Office of the Chief Scientist in the first and second years, 30% in the third and fourth years, and 25% in the fifth year. Projects set up in Israel’sNorth and South will be eligible for higher government funding of 50% in the first and second years, 40% in the third and fourth years, and 35% in the fifth year.
The plan is part of the Relative Advantages Plan that will be managed by the Chief Scientist Office and aims to boost the development of an information-intensive financial services industry in Israel.
“This plan is designed to meet the world’s need for sophisticated analytical solutions that support the financial industry. Israel has quality manpower with advanced technological infrastructures and good quality higher education,” Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor director general Sharon Kedmi said.
To qualify, participating international financial companies have to commit to working in Israel for five years and employ at least 25 R&D employees in the first year, 50 employees in the second year, and 80 employees in the third and subsequent years. The companies also need to ensure that at least 90% of the employees at the financial R&D centers to be set up will be Israeli citizens.
HEBREW UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR WINS WORLD’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS MATH PRIZE
Professor Elon Lindenstrauss from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Einstein Institute of Mathematics was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal for 2010.
The Fields medal, also referred to as the “mathematics’ Nobel Prize,” is the world’s most important math prize and is awarded once every four years to researchers aged 40 years or under who demonstrate significant mathematical achievements and show great potential for the future.
Professor Lindenstrauss was awarded the prize for work that uses probabilistic and dynamic systems for solving problems in number theory.
A Jerusalem resident, Lindenstrauss is a graduate of the Air Force’s elite Talpiot program and has been awarded several prestigious prizes both in Israel and abroad. After receiving his doctorate in mathematics from the Hebrew University, he became a member of Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Study and in 2008 received a professorship at the Hebrew University.
ISRAEL’S TECHNION RANKED 38TH AMONG WORLD’S TOP TECH UNIVERSITIES
Technion leads almost all European engineering-technology universities in the rankings
According to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s annual rankings, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, was ranked 38th among the world’s top universities in technology in 2010, advancing two spots since 2009.
Among the main criteria determining the rankings are the number and quality of scientific publications, as well as the number of leading researchers in the university’s field of specialization.
Some 2,000 universities are analyzed each year, and 1,000 enter the ranking
NASA AND ISRAEL SPACE AGENCY TO INCREASE COOPERATION
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Israel Space Agency (ISA) Director General Zvi Kaplan signed a joint statement to expand cooperation in civil space activities, including in Earth and space science, life sciences, space exploration and other areas of mutual interest.
NASA and ISA identified an expansion of Israeli participation in numerous scientific and educational opportunities including, the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) education program and use of the International Space Station for Israeli research and educational experiments.
In January, the two agencies signed a joint statement that recognizes the Israel Network for Lunar Science and Exploration (INLSE) as an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
ISRAELI ENGINEERING COLLEGE TO LEAD EUROPEAN INNOVATION PROJECT
TEMPUS, a European Union program aimed at supporting higher education in neighboring countries, awarded Israel’s Sami Shamoon Academic College of Engineering (SCE) a 1 million Euro grant to teach innovation.
SCE will lead a group of 18 institutions and companies from both within and outside Israel, including Apple’s Israeli representative E-Digital, SIT, and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel’s first private college.
Established in 1990, TEMPUS covers 27 countries in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.