Haifa and Atlanta Advance Israeli Medical Technology

October 12, 2018

4 min read

A promising partnership between Israel’s Rambam Medical Center and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) at Georgia’s Institute of Technology in the US will make it possible for Israeli scientists to produce and sell new medical technology better and faster. The two sides agreed to set up a medical technology incubator for Israeli-based companies in Atlanta.

GCMI, along with Rambam doctors and specialists in various fields, will provide, expert advice and consultation to Israeli companies at the new Biomedical and Digital Health Innovation Center. This will help them obtain funding, navigate commercialization and regulatory clearance and other necessities for entering the huge US healthcare market.

Rambam director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar, who is in Atlanta, said in a telephone interview with Breaking Israel News that he was excited by this “unique and promising partnership, which is a win-win deal for Israel and Atlanta. Rambam’s highly advanced MedTech ecosystem, based in and around Haifa, can benefit from the deep knowledge of Georgia’s Global Center for Medical Innovation in how to most efficiently get its medical products to the market and in doing so, help patients around the world.” Rambam is the largest medical center in northern Israel.

Getting Israeli medical technologies into the US market, where the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives key approval, is highly important for Israel medical innovators, he said. Europe and elsewhere still have difficulties. “There are many Israelis at the beginning of their ideas and research or already seeking investments, so the potential for cooperation with GMCI is great.”

Asked for examples of Israeli medical technologies that Rambam scientists will bring to GCMI, Beyar listed chronic disease management; monitoring of asthma patients by measuring chest movements; computerized ultrasound; automatic monitoring of blood flow; cardiac insufficiency; coping with pain; dealing with addiction to opiates; cancer treatments; and digital health. The Georgia Institute of Technology campus is nearby and will be of great help as well, said Beyar.

The partnership was launched after a group of key people from Atlanta came to Rambam three months ago as part of visits to medical technology centers around Israel. In the end, only Rambam was chosen for the partnership. “We are jointly collecting $1 million for the project as startup funding.”

The accelerator will provide promising Israeli medical technology startups a source of funding and US commercialization pathway expertise including market assessment, design, prototyping, preclinical trials, submission requirements for the FDA, investor readiness and market access.

GCMI chief executive officer Tiffany Wilson said that Israeli engineering and entrepreneurial expertise “regularly translate to medical devices capable of improving patient outcomes while driving the overall cost of care down in many parts of the world, including the US. We believe our expertise will increase the speed at which Israeli med-tech innovations achieve key milestones and ultimately clearance by FDA for use in the US. Israeli engineering and entrepreneurial expertise regularly translate to medical devices capable of improving patient outcomes while driving the overall cost of care down in many parts of the world, including the US,” added Wilson.

Israel’s consulate-general for the American Southeast, the Connex America-Israel Business Connector and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce also support the venture, they said.

“The commitment to the joint Biomedical and Digital Health Innovation Center reflects the government of Israel’s recent designation of Georgia as a key state, recognizing Atlanta as a proven technology hub and affirming the strong commercial and technological ties between the two states,” said Judith Varnai Shorer, Israel’s ambassador and consul-general to the southeastern US.

“This relationship efficiently bridges a key gap in market access for Israeli-based healthcare innovators seeking to bring their products to bear on patient care in the US to the benefit of all concerned. Basing this accelerator in Atlanta not only strengthens the ties between both communities, it provides superior access to potential customers, vendor and manufacturer partners,” said Connex CEO Guy Tessler.

Bringing together Rambam and GCMI strategically extends metro Atlanta’s outreach to global markets that excel in innovation, particularly in one of our region’s core strengths – the healthcare ecosystem,” says Jorge Fernandez, vice president for economic development global commerce at the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

In addition to its share of funding responsibilities and commercialization support, GCMI will also maintain a presence at the Rambam campus in Haifa to assist in the evaluation, selection and early support of prospective accelerator participants.

Launched in 2017, GCMI’s “A1” accelerator is currently host to three early-stage med-tech companies and shares relationships with the American Cancer Society, Piedmont Healthcare, Georgia Tech, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other private and public bodies.

The signatories at the ceremony said the new program also provides opportunities for US-based companies to access Rambam’s resources including a large and diverse patient population, innovative key opinion leaders and access to early-stage clinical research and rich digital health capabilities.

GCMI has a 1,300-square-meter medical device design and protoyping center where it helps innovators, entrepreneurs and new-product teams bring their ideas from concept to reality. Within the space, they can go from a sketch to a design to a prototype quickly – sometimes in hours – allowing for faster iteration and speeding development. It also has certified “clean rooms.” GCMI’s staff examine the clinical need or problem to be solved; how the product’s critical features address clinical need; what is the product’s regulatory pathway; whether the innovator’s intellectual property can be protected; if there a market for the product; and who are its competitors.

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