9 top digital health companies; Two awards for Cognata; Drone delivery expands; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Implant for congestive heart failure patients
Israel’s Restore Medical develops the ContraBand implant that uses the patient’s Left Ventrical to assist a failing Right Ventrical for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF). It has just announced promising preliminary results of its First-in-Human clinical trials.
Boost for Parkinson’s treatment
Back in 2013 (see here previously) Tel Aviv University researchers found that the sugar substitute mannitol could protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease. But a trial could not get funding. So, entrepreneur and Parkinson’s sufferer Dan Vesely co-founded and crowdfunded CliniCrowd.
Israel starts trial of 4th vaccination
Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has begun the first study in the world of the efficacy of administering a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The 6,000 participants include 150 medical personnel who had a 3rd dose in August. They will receive the Pfizer vaccine.
How plants fight infections
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have identified the complex way that plant bacteria fight off infections from viruses known as phages. A protein in the bacteria calls another protein to destroy a molecule inside itself that the phage needs to replicate. The cell dies but it stops the infection.
Monitor your sleep at home
No need to go to a sleep lab to analyze your sleep problems. The electrophysiological measurement solution from Israel’s X-trodes (see here previously) is ideal for home use. Its smart skin electrodes measure brainwaves, eye movement, skeletal muscles, cardiac activity and more.
9 top digital health companies
CB Insights has named nine Israeli-based health-tech startups in its 2021 Top 150 Digital Health Companies transforming healthcare. They include Vocalis, Sweetch, DiA Imaging, B.Well, C2I Genomics, Lumen, Nym Health, Theator and Empathy.
https://www.israel21c.org/8-israeli-startups-make-cb-insights-top-150-list/ https://b-well.co.il/ (Hebrew)
Israeli startups transforming telehealth
Some more innovative Israeli healthcare startups. Those not previously reported in this newsletter are medFlyt (caregiver management) and Sivan Innovation (Moovcare patient / physician communications)
$17 million for digital health
Israel has budgeted NIS 55 million for hospitals and health organizations etc., to build the digital infrastructure required for anonymized medical data sharing. It will spearhead major advances in groundbreaking research and innovative development by Israeli healthcare startups and research scientists.
Cancer treatment goes into space
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off for the International Space Station carrying a smart laboratory developed by Israel’s SpacePharma. It will test Doxil from Israel’s Ayana to see its effect on cells in zero gravity. Doxil is the first nanotechnology cancer treatment approved by the US FDA.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
More actors with disabilities
Four of Israel’s biggest TV companies KAN, RESHET, HOT, and YES have pledged that they will audition actors with disabilities with each new studio production. They have also committed to a more inclusive selection process for all jobs across the film industry.
Soccer for disabled children
A new Israeli soccer team, Hapoel Special Olympics, coaches youths with special needs, including autism and mental disabilities, with the participation of professional soccer players.
Ethiopian Israeli, female, pianist and IDF soldier
Elisabeth has been playing piano since the age of nine and has even played at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. This prodigy pianist from Jerusalem has continued playing all the way through her service in the IDF.
Arab Israeli Yoseph Haddad has founded Together – Vouch for Each Other which bridges gaps between Jews and Arabs, connecting Israeli Arab society to Israeli society. Arabs can be proud Arabs and proud Israelis. The Arab Israeli NGO also works outside of Israel to combat antisemitism and the BDS movement.
Israel puts Christian manuscripts online
Israel’s National Library has added 1,600 ancient Christian manuscripts to its online archive. The collection originates from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, includes items from the 12th century and is said to be priceless for scholars of Greek Orthodoxy.
Israeli & UAE students solve problems together
Jerusalem-based PICO Kids Ambassadors program flew 16 Jerusalemite students to a “Makeathon” at the Dubai Future Foundation. With UAE students they built prototypes for desalination facilities, vertical farms, and portable bottle caps with integrated filters.
UN Ambassadors see the real Israel
A delegation of 12 ambassadors to the United Nations recently visited Israel. On a tour of the Entrepreneurship Center of the Unistream Association in Be’er Sheva, the students (from all social and geographical fringes of Israel) presented the startup companies that they developed.
European lawmakers see the real Israel
Israel hosted a group of 16 young lawmakers from Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Sweden. Their itinerary included the Gaza periphery (Sderot & Iron Dome), Jerusalem (Old City, Knesset & Yad Vashem) and Tel Aviv’s startups.
An EU scholarship to Israeli university
A consortium of ten universities – nine in Europe and Bar-Ilan University in Israel – has won the EU’s prestigious Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree (EMJMD) grant, valued at more than €4.5m. It will help students study for a MSc in Chemoinformatics (Chemistry and AI).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Next Gen solar cells
Israel’s SOLRA is developing solar cells based on thin film materials derived from perovskite, a crystalline substance that efficiently absorbs light. Perovskite-based solar cells have higher cell power conversion efficiencies, cheaper to manufacture and have far more uses than existing PV solar cells.
Wave power for Israel
At Jaffa Port, Israel’s Eco Wave Power (see here previously) is installing its system to produce clean energy from ocean and sea waves. It will be the first time in Israeli history that wave energy will officially connect to the national electrical grid. Israel’s government is funding 50% of the project.
Storing renewable energy
Israel’s Augwind (see here previously) has signed an $8 million agreement with the Israel Electricity Corporation to build a 40-megawatt hours AirBattery (the world’s first) to store solar or wind energy as compressed air (see here also). See videos for details of the technology.
Mobileye takes to Parisian streets
Employees of the Galeries Lafayette store on Paris’ Haussmann Boulevard will be able to ride to work in an autonomous car controlled by Israel’s Mobileye. The trial service will also feature a Mobileye safety driver and a “co-pilot” from French transportation operator RATP Group.
Two awards for Cognata
Israeli autonomous car simulator Cognata (see here previously) won two CES 2022 Innovation Awards recently. First, for its Smart City Digital Twin product (see video). Also, for helping accelerate the global program for ADAS validation to meet global regulatory requirements.
How Israel is changing the way we travel
The Smart Mobility summit in Tel Aviv was a global event with 5,000 attendees, including automakers and government leaders. The speakers discussed vehicle electrification, artificial intelligence, big data and their influence on transportation, Mobility as a Service (MAAS), and more.
On the fast track
Israel has approved a project to build a high-speed rail connection between Haifa and Tel Aviv for a travel time of 30 minutes. Also, Nahariya to Tel Aviv would be shortened to 54 minutes instead of more than hour-and-a-half. The trains will travel at up to 155 mph and the project will cost NIS 12 billion.
The largest cultivated steak to date
Israel’s MeaTech 3D (see here previously) has successfully bio-printed the largest cultivated steak to date, producing a 3.67 oz (104-gram) product made with real muscle and fat cells.
Accidental breakthrough in cultivating meat
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute stumbled onto a fast process for growing lab-grown meat. They found that cultivated meat grows much faster when the enzyme ERK is blocked. They have formed the Israeli startup ProFuse to take this further.
Filtering the air in the classroom
Israel’s health and education ministries have selected Israel’s Aura Smart Air (see here previously) to pilot its filtration systems in 700 classrooms across Jerusalem to stop the spread of coronavirus. 150+ global educational institutions use Aura Smart Air filters in their classrooms.
Maintaining healthy soil
Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have founded DOTS (Data of the Soil), which has developed an electro-optical nitrate sensor based on absorption spectroscopy, for continuous monitoring of nitrate levels in the soil. It prevents over-fertilization and reduces water resource pollution.
Zero waste optical lenses
Researchers from Israel’s Technion Institute have discovered an innovative and comparably cheap, way to make optical lenses. It avoids the 80% waste of grinding and shaping glass slabs. A polymer is injected into a ring-shaped frame under water. Its benefits range from spectacles to telescopes.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Economy grew 7% in 2021
Dun & Bradstreet reported that Israel’s economy grew by seven percent in 2021, beating a global average of 5.9%. 17,000 more businesses opened or re-opened than closed during the year.
University innovation grants
Israel’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology has launched a new “Knowledge Accelerator” program to promote research for industry. It awarded NIS 10.8 million to Ben Gurion University to create “The Lab Pre-acceleration Program” within its Yazamut 360° Oazis accelerator (see here).
New Unicorn knows its salt
Israel’s Salt Security (see here previously) has just raised $120 – 150 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion, becoming Israel’s latest startup with the investment status of a Unicorn.
Drone delivery expands
Since February, Israel’s Flytrex (see here previously) has increased its drone delivery business in North Carolina, USA more than tenfold. Its three drone stations at the Holly Springs Town Center make dozens of food orders deliveries a day for restaurants and retail chains.
Boost for sugar-reduced juices
Israel’s Better Juice (see here previously) has sealed its first commercial deal. GEA Group, AG, Germany, a major US fruit juice manufacturer will help to bring Better Juice’s reduced-sugar juices one step closer to supermarket beverage aisles. Better Juice was also granted a new European patent.
Broadcasting in the UAE
Israel’s Pixellot (see here previously) has signed a deal with Dubai-based sports broadcast system integrator Cam Plus Sport to “enable sports clubs and schools across the United Arab Emirates to create high-quality livestreams and on-demand recordings of sports matches.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
85th Anniversary of the IPO
The Israel Philharmonic celebrates 85 years with this unique virtual event. It includes never-before seen archive material with musical legends Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Isaac Stern and much more.
What’s on at Center Stage
January events at Israel’s only dedicated theater for English speakers include 8th Jan Broadway with a Twist; 12th Jan Fun Innovation; 31st Jan Sorcerer’s Night.
Listen to Israel
Jacob Richman has created a website with links to dozens of regularly updated podcasts of Israeli news, technology, culture, entertainment and more. Visit https://jr.co.il/links/#podcasts
Record breaking Israeli salad
A salad with 99 ingredients (not including spices) broke the Israeli record at the 12th annual Israel Agriculture Summit. The Noi HaSadeh food chain provided the fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and herbs for the salad, displaying the strength of Israeli agriculture from the Galilee to the Negev.
Anti-microbial basketball nets
Ex-pro American Israeli basketball player Tamir Goodman (“the Jewish Jordan”) has launched “Aviv” – a new sports-equipment innovation company. Its basketball nets dry the basketball from sweat and disinfects its surface every time the ball goes through the hoop.
The ski slopes are open
With the recent heavy precipitation from the Carmel Storm, sufficient snow (25cm) landed on Mount Hermon to enable the resort to be opened to Israeli skiers and sledding. In the first four hours of the site’s opening on Thursday, some 2,000 visitors arrived. And this week is the resort’s 50th anniversary.
Israeli gold medal in Oman.
8-year-old Gal Zuckerman won a gold medal in kiteboarding event at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman. She came first in every one of the competition’s 18 rounds. The Omani organizers treated the Israelis very well, but failed to play the Israeli anthem or raise its flag.
THE JEWISH STATE
No longer a village
Petah Tikva has come a long way since it was founded in 1878 as the first Jewish agricultural village following the resettlement of the Land of Israel. The municipality has approved an outline plan that will increase the city’s population from 266,000 to 460,000.
Maps of Israel
Jacob Richman has added many links to his Maps of Israel site. Worth a visit.
Praying at the Kotel in 1928
Some rare colored video footage of Jews in Jerusalem in 1928 during the British Mandate period that preceded the State of Israel, between 1918 – 1948.
This year’s Jerusalem Biennale (see here previously) included the works of 48 Jewish artists. Each was based on one of the 48 ways that Torah is acquired, as listed in the sixth chapter of Pirkei Avot.
IDF medic saves Palestinian Arab baby
When two Palestinian Arab women arrived at a checkpoint with an unconscious baby, 19-year-old IDF Corporal Adam quickly began CPR on the infant. A few hours later, the family returned to the checkpoint to thank Adam and tell him that the baby was fine.
Kashrut supervisor saves lives in Ashdod
Avraham works as a supervisor of kosher food for the Rabbinate of the city of Ashdod and is also a volunteer EMT for Israeli NGO United Hatzalah. He had just returned from treating the injured in a motorcycle accident when he was called to save the life of a heart attack patient.
Israel’s success is no accident
Anyone searching for a deeper reason for Israel’s modern economic miracle should read this blog article.