European Union project plans biotech incubator in Jerusalem

A recent survey pointed to Jerusalem as having the potential to become an international biotechnology center.The European Union has approved the establishment of a biotechnology consortium that will create a biotech incubator in Jerusalem to help strengthen startups in the …

A recent survey pointed to Jerusalem as having the potential to become an international biotechnology center.The European Union has approved the establishment of a biotechnology consortium that will create a biotech incubator in Jerusalem to help strengthen startups in the city.

A business incubator is generally a site that includes basic laboratories where new companies can engage in research and receive advice about business development without incurring high initial costs.

As part of the EU project, prepared by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, with the help of the Jerusalem Development Corporation, other biotech incubators will also be set up across Europe. The planned chain will include the Oxford Science Park in Britain; the Bio-M in Munich, Germany; the Genopole in Paris; Consortium 21 in Sardinia, Italy, in addition to the Jerusalem incubator.

Dan Kaufman of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies announced the plan at the Hadassah College of Technology memorial conference for the late Prof. Yaacov Matzner, dean of the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School. Kaufman said the total consortium budget was $2.5 million, with $500,000 earmarked for Jerusalem.

As part of the cooperation agreement, the consortium companies will benefit from a variety of services from the different incubators, including exposure to financial sources, regulation and patent consultation, and help from technology experts. This support will enable startups to operate in the international arena in the earliest stages and gain a major competitive edge in the world market.

In addition, Hadassah College of Technology president Dr. Nava Ben-Zvi announced the establishment of a joint biotechnology forum by the college and the Manufacturers Association of Israel. She expressed her hope that the Ministry of Industry and Trade would support the founding of a biotechnology incubator in Jerusalem.

At the conference, Kaufman reported the results of a survey conducted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, which indicated that the biotechnology industry in Israel is centered at leading Israeli universities in Jerusalem, Rehovot, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. The survey findings singled out Jerusalem as the place in Israel with the greatest potential to become a major international biotechnology center, because it already houses the greatest number of students in the field and a large number of companies, as well as having some of the leading medical and research institutions.

Dr. Rafi Hofstein, managing director of Hadasit Medical Research Services and Develoment, Hadassah College of Technology’s technology transfer company, described progress that has been made in a project for establishing a technology park in Ein Kerem in the Hadassah Medical Center compound, in cooperation with Teva and Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University, which would be able to fill an incubator to be supported by the Israeli government.