Treatment pathway for fatal epilepsy; Advice to female entrepreneurs; Massive hi-tech investment; and much more!
by Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Treatment pathway for fatal epilepsy
Dravet syndrome is an epileptic condition with a 15 to 20 percent mortality rate and resistant to current medications. Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that the DHODH gene is key to triggering such adverse neural activity and that Terflunomide can inhibit it.
Treatment hope for Williams Syndrome
Tel Aviv University scientists have linked gene Gtf2i to Williams Syndrome (WS) and the thinning of the myelin layer that protects neurons in the brain. In lab tests they managed to reverse some WS symptoms using the FDA-approved antihistamine clemastine fumarate.
Micro pancreas for diabetics
I reported previously (Dec 2015) on Israel’s Betalin Therapeutics, which has developed an insulin-producing micro pancreas that can be implanted into the body of diabetics. Betalin has since won startup awards in Tel Aviv and China and has just raised funds to help start human trials this year.
US approval for opioid overdose spray
The US FDA has approved the generic naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray developed by Israel’s Teva. Commonly known as Narcan, the medication can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The emergency treatment can be administered even by those without medical training.
FDA prioritizes Alzheimer’s therapy device
I reported previously (see here) on the NeuroAD cranial device from Israel’s Neuronix. It already has European approval and is now being urgently reviewed in the FDA’s Expedited Access Pathway program for breakthrough devices that target vital unmet needs.
Successful blood test trial
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Sight Diagnostics’ device that can perform full blood tests using just a few drops of blood. Sight Diagnostics has just completed a successful trial which should help it obtain US FDA approval. The device is already marketed in Europe and Israel.
Pumpkin seed extract treatment for BHP
A recent study of Go-Less® Men (EFLA®940 – an extract from pumpkin seeds) to be effective in the treatment of symptoms of BHP (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Go-Less is marketed by Israel-founded Frutarom. A previous study showed Go-Less to relieve incontinence in women.
MDA ambulance number 12
I reported previously (2nd Sep) when retired surgeon Norman Rosenbaum was awarded by UK PM Theresa May for helping to buy 11 ambulances for Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom. Norman has just fundraised his 12th ambulance for MDA who awarded him Humanitarian of the Year.
Weizmann Institute battles to conquer cancer
At Israel’s Weizmann Institute there are over 60 research groups focusing on beating cancer and over 40% of the Institute’s life sciences research is cancer-related.
Helping surgeons prepare
US-Israeli startup Theator uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to help surgeons prepare for procedures by reviewing previous cases. Its Minute system edits videos of surgical procedures to highlight the key steps and “outcome-critical” components to reduce medical errors.
How ultrasound treats tremor
This article gives an excellent description of the process used by Israel’s Insightec to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor patients. The technology is being used in over 50 medical centers around the world and has treated over 2,000 neuro-patients.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Advice to female entrepreneurs
I reported previously (16th Feb) on the wound care system from Israel’s Nanomedic Technologies. Nanomedic CEO and mother of three, Chen Barak, advises female entrepreneurs to get support from their family and not to give up or compromise on their career.
Number of Israeli-Arab hi-tech students doubles
The number of Arab Israelis studying high-tech subjects at Israeli universities and colleges has doubled in six years. In 2018, 3,778 Arab students (12% of Israeli students) were studying high-tech subjects for BA degrees.
Israeli-Druze doctor honored on Independence Day
Ziv Medical Center’s Dr. Salman Zarka was head of “Operation Good Neighbor” in which, for six years, Israel provided critical care to thousands of Syrian victims of its civil war. Dr. Zarka was given the honor of lighting a torch on Israel’s Independence Day (see below).
Finland is a hi-tech partner
The Israel-Finland Pilot Program has been launched by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Helsinki Business Hub. It will help Israeli and Helsinki-area companies to co-develop technologies, products and services including digital health, smart mobility and communications.
500 multinationals in the Startup Nation
The State of Innovation,” published by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) and PwC Israel, reports that over 500 multinational corporations from some 35 countries are active in Israel. It says they seek the ideas and the entrepreneurial culture emanating from Israel’s 6,000 plus startups.
London Uni students see Israeli tech up close
52 students from 30 countries (including Saudi Arabia and Sudan) studying at Imperial College London, had an eye-opening tour of tech sites in Israel. These included Mobileye, IBM, Barclays Techstar, OurCrowd and the Technion and Weizmann Institutes.
Israeli and UAE jets exercise together
The Israel Air Force, along with pilots from the United Arab Emirates, United States, Greece, Italy and Cyprus took part of Iniohos 2019 – Greece’s largest military exercise.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
New record for renewable energy production
On 23rd April, the Israeli Electric Company broke its 13th Feb all-time-record (reported here) for energy produced from renewable resources. The production capacity was 1,326 megawatts, accounting for 19.3% of IEC’s total energy production. https://www.jpost.com/HEALTH-SCIENCE/Electric-company-produces-record-amount-of-green-energy-587695
Israel is 2nd most scientific
Israel is the second most scientific / innovative nation in the world, in a report compiled by engineering firm RS Components and published in the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Israel is ranked after the U.S. and ahead of South Korea. R&D spending and researchers per capita were key factors.
Celebrating Israel’s hi-tech achievements
The IVC (Israel Venture Capital) Research Center (founded in 1997) celebrated Israel’s 71st Independence Day by summarizing Israel’s current high-tech industry’s status and its achievements since IVC’s foundation in 1997.
Intel’s 9th generation processors designed in Israel
Sired from its Haifa team, Intel has launched the 9th Gen Intel Core – its “most powerful generation” of mobile processors for laptops. It is for powering games and heavy workloads like video editing and will be in new Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI laptops.
A “pop-up”, foldable playground
Israel’s POPIN Playgrounds has developed a foldable in-home playground that enables large play structures to pop-up for playtime and take up minimal space when not in use. The car, kitchen, playhouse and pirate ship table are made of strong, eco-friendly materials and are easily transported.
Security for a connected world
Our environment is increasingly reliant on embedded devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). These are highly vulnerable and at risk of a future massive attack. Israel’s VDOO Connected Trust has developed security automation for embedded devices and has just raised $32 million of funds.
Making sense of the documentation
Israel’s Amenity Analytics uses natural language processing to rapidly process complex text documents into actionable insights. Amenity’s technology analyzes texts ranging from regulatory filings and earnings transcripts to social media content. Amenity has just raised $18 million of funds.
Giving self-awareness to drones
Israel’s Sightec has developed an artificial intelligence and computer vision-based spatial navigation system for fully or partially autonomous aerial vehicles. The system allows the vehicle to analyze its surroundings without depending on exterior communication, including cellular networks or GPS.
RAF deploys Israeli emergency beacon
The Emergency Personal Locator Beacon (EPLB) from Israel’s Elbit has begun operations for the UK’s Royal Air Force. The EPLB is attached to the pilot’s life jacket and emits two types of alerts if the pilot ejects or crashes. The all-weather device operates even if the pilot is unconscious.
Cultivating the desert truffle
Scientists from Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a successful method for cultivating the sought-after desert truffle (Terfezia Leonis fungus). They discovered the symbiotic relationship between the truffle and its host plant and are now producing up to 150kg per hectare.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Economy still improving
The Bank of Israel’s Composite State of the Economy Index for March increased by nearly 0.3 percent. Highlights were Goods exports, Goods imports and Industrial production.
Massive hi-tech investment
Israeli startups raised a huge total of $1.55 billion during the first quarter of 2019. It represents a 28% increase on the first quarter of 2018. The strongest sectors were software and life sciences.
Europe offers favorable credit to Israeli firms
The European Investment Bank, as part of Horizon 2020, is offering credit enhancement services and financing under favorable terms to Israel companies. The agreement was initiated by Israel’s Peninsula Growth Fund to assist medium-sized Israeli companies.
New record for currency deposits
Israel’s reserves of foreign currency increased by half a billion dollars during April to another new record of $118.7 billion. https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/7-05-19.aspx
Promoting startups in rural Israel
The Israel Innovation Authority has allocated $50 million for setting up innovation incubators to encourage local entrepreneurship in Israel’s rural areas. The incubators in Israel’s periphery will provide workspace, support from academic institutes, mentors and links to investors and clients.
Trawling for maritime startups
I reported previously (24th July) on Israel-based maritime startup accelerator TheDock Innovation Hub which offers startups funds, offices, mentors and networking with partner companies. TheDock has added Singapore-based port operator PSA International to existing partners that include Maersk.
New York event promotes 80 Israeli startups
120 entrepreneurs from 80 Israeli startups attended Calcalist’s Mind the Tech conference at the New York center of Tel Aviv-headquartered innovation hub SOSA. They presented to industry leaders including Amazon, American Express, Comcast, Goldman Stanley, and TechStars.
Every company can get “the Amazon effect”
I reported previously (Jul 2017) on Israel’s Bringg when it began dispatching and tracking orders for US caterer Panera Bread. Bringg now helps Panera process over a million orders a month. It has just raised $25 million of funds to “level the playing field in the age of Amazon”.
Best Buy stocks Israeli diagnostic kits
US retail electronics chain Best Buy has partnered with Israel’s TycoCare. US customers on-line and at stores in 4 states can purchase TycoCare’s all-in-one digital diagnostics kit consisting of thermometer, stethoscope, otoscope, tongue depressor and remote consultation service.
Walmart to sell Israeli-selected products for kids
Walmart has partnered with Israeli-founded Kidbox to sell customers $48 boxes of leading children’s fashion brands at 50% discount to their regular retail price. The Israeli-developed software assesses the child’s preferences and taste, the time of year, and the latest fashions.
Protecting Central American coasts
Israel’s ELTA Systems has won several contracts in the Caribbean (for Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados) to upgrade national coastal surveillance systems and provide radar systems to offshore oil rigs. ELTA also is to supply radar systems to Mexican offshore oil rigs.
Cash to leave your car at home
The Israeli Transportation Ministry is piloting a scheme, initially with 500 drivers, to try to reduce traffic congestion. Each driver can earn up to NIS 2,000 if he/she doesn’t drive during the rush hour. More money can be obtained by giving lifts to carpoolers and by using public transport.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Louvre partners Jerusalem museum
In their first joint venture, Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum has lent four rare artifacts to the Paris Louvre. They will be included in the Louvre’s exhibit “Forgotten Kingdoms: From the Hittite Empire to the Arameans,” from 2nd May until 12th August.
Turning art into a moving experience
If you visit a Marriott Aloft hotel in the US, chances are that you will be attracted to a moving visual art display in the lobby. These videocasts have been installed by Israeli startup Niio from the curated digital art collections of 1,500 member artists, galleries, libraries and collectors.
The best restaurant in the US
Philadelphia eatery Zahav has won the James Beard Foundation award for outstanding US restaurant. Co-founded by Israeli-born chef Michael Solomonov, Zahav’s website describes it as “a modern Israeli restaurant that brings the authentic flavors of Israel’s cultural heritage to Philadelphia.”
When camels fly – Eurovision’s venue
The Eurovision Song Contest, watched by 200 million TV viewers, will be held at Expo Tel Aviv. Expo’s logo is a flying camel – connecting the east (Levant) with innovation, entrepreneurship and advancement in the west. The symbol was designed for Tel Aviv’s 1934 Levant Fair.
An Israeli gold medal for ice-hockey
Israel’s national team won the gold medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship Division II Group B tournament held in Mexico City. Israel beat Mexico, New Zealand, Georgia, Iceland and North Korea and won promotion to Division 2A next year.
THE JEWISH STATE
All stop for Yom HaShoah
Almost every Israeli citizen paused to reflect – even all traffic on the busy Tel Aviv Ayalon (freeway) came to a halt – at 10am on 2nd May when the two-minute siren sounded across the country. It was to mark Yom HaShoah, when Israelis remember those that perished in the Holocaust.
Hundreds of Haredim attend Yom HaZikaron services
Some 800 members of the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) community and soldiers attended the first-of-its-kind Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem. They included both of Jerusalem’s chief rabbis, other rabbis, and members of the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion.
Honoring Israelis who beat the odds
Including Dr Zarka (see above) this year’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut ceremony honored 12 Israelis who had succeeded against all odds. These included Dr. Hodaya Oliel, who has become the first medical doctor in Israel with cerebral palsy and Menashe Zalka, an Ethiopian Israeli soccer player.
New postage stamps
New Israeli postage stamps issued on 1st May featured the Mimouna festival, the song Hava Nagila, Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) and endangered mammals.
Over 60 million Friends of Zion
The Christian Zionist organization “Friends of Zion” is one of the largest pro-Israel groups in the world and has just surpassed 60 million members on social media. Its Jerusalem museum is well worth visiting. https://www.fozmuseum.com/
Another 220 Ukrainian Olim
Ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, 220 new immigrants have just arrived from Ukraine. They came on three separate flights organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. 42 have chosen to live in the “Gaza envelope” (e.g. Sderot) in full knowledge of the current situation.
American blood brothers
The American Friends of Magen David Adom has begun building a new National Blood Service Center in the central Israel city of Ramle. The 5.5-acre state-of-the-art site will make it possible for MDA to continue to serve the blood needs of the IDF and Israel’s growing civilian population.
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