When people refer to Israel as the “Startup Nation,” it’s usually regarding the country’s innovation in computers, networking, communications, electronics, and so on. But it might be even more appropriate to use that term when discussing life sciences, medical technology, and biotech – areas where Israeli companies and technologies have taken center stage, leading the world with innovations that are saving lives.
For a country of barely 8 million people, Israel is a hotbed of medtech investment and innovation. There are over 1,500 companies in the life sciences field in Israel; in 2017, Israeli life science exports reached $8.5 billion, growing steadily since 2010; international medical technology and pharmaceutical firms, including GE, Phillips, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Abbott Laboratories, Takeda, and many others have R&D centers in Israel; and home-grown Israeli companies like Mazor Robotics, Lumenis, Neuroderm, Given Imaging, InSightec, and others have engineered revolutions in treatments and technologies in their fields.
There have also been several large acquisitions made by multinational companies. Mazor Robotics, which developed innovative methods for spine surgery, was acquired by Medtronic; Lumenis, which developed minimally invasive laser surgery tools, was acquired by CVC; and Given Imaging, developer of the Pillcam – an innovative miniature camera that, after being swallowed by a patient, gives caregivers an inside view of what is going on in the body – was also acquired by Medtronic. All these companies started life as small life sciences startups, as did many of the R&D centers that now belong to multinational firms.
Now there is a whole new crop of startups – and they are leveraging the technology that Israel has developed in big data, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence to develop new technologies designed to improve health. The burgeoning field of digital health promises to help develop better treatments for cancer, diabetes, and many other diseases. By examining the health histories of thousands of people, companies can extract data that provides important clues on causes, treatments and preventative measures for a whole host of diseases and conditions.
Many of the startups working in the field of digital health will be at the upcoming MEDinISRAEL event, where more than 3,000 participants will come from Israel and around the world to learn about innovation in this space and to see practical applications of how technology can be applied to uncovering the causes of diseases and developing better treatments.
Among the digital health companies that will be at MEDinISRAEL is SafeLuna, which is developing real-time sensing technology that remotely monitors an infant’s heart rate, movements, and blood perfusion while sleeping. SafeLuna’s technology can be integrated with any baby monitor device giving it the ability to collect data and to send an alert to the parents if something is wrong, providing critical time for intervention. Vitalerter, designed for use in hospitals and nursing homes, enables early detection of patient deterioration and warns nursing staff to intervene quickly, thereby improving patient care, shortening hospital stays, and reducing healthcare costs. The company’s technology is based on lightweight biosensors, powerful artificial intelligence, and a deep-learning algorithm engine. Serenus AI is developing the first clinically objective, AI-based, automated case-by-case review system to improve the utilization and prior authorization processes before medical procedures. The company has developed algorithms to review the most common elective procedures while providing a comprehensive, real-time analytics report highlighting the related medical factors and their dynamic impact influencing the recommendation.
These are just a few of the companies that will be at MEDinISRAEL this year. The conference will also feature experts from around the globe who will discuss topics such as Telemedicine, Hospital at Home, Medical IoT and Patient Engagement, Cybersecurity in Healthcare, and AR/VR Applications in Healthcare. Digital Health is a field Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes could be Israel’s next big tech export – similar to cybersecurity. “This field of digital health is estimated at $6 trillion,” Netanyahu said. “Let us assume that we will receive 10% of the real market for this potential, not our market, the real global market in the coming years. In my view, this is the maximum estimate. It is a $600 billion market and of it, if we succeed, as we did in cybersecurity and autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, we can expect a significant increase in new products. The interest of global companies is very great. I have already met with many of them. They all want to come here, and rightly so. They see this as a new direction.”
Link: MEDinISRAEL homepage…