Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 5

Today our first stop was Chiasma which is a biotech company outside Jerusalem.  We went to a panel on the life science industry in Israel and there were a number of impressive speakers.  Starting off was a managing partner of a VC named Dalia Megiddo who is also an MD.  She gave an interesting presentation on Israel and the life science industry.  It is very impressive that from their 3.5 million person labor force they are leading the world in patents and Nobel Prizes for life sciences since 2000.  Then was an entrepreneur named Galit Zuckerman who started a company called Medasense.  They are designing a product that can check for imbalances in your blood by putting a sensor on your finger much like Itamar the day earlier.  This product is designed to measure the amount of pain felt by a patient.  She did not explain what they are measuring but it sure seemed like a product of the future, much like the all of the products presented on this panel.
Then Steven Eitan, the CEO of a company called Exalenz presented their product which can detect liver disease by simply measuring the different molecules in your breath with high tech imaging technologies.  This provides for a very non-invasive way of diagnosing these problems.  I found this to be extremely impressive once again and we had a great discussion.  A presenter Dana Gelbaum from Chiasma gave us a presentation on their company and products and how far they are along.  They produce a pill release system that does not let out the medicine until the pill is in your small intestines to treat certain illnesses.
Shmulik Tuvia then presented on what it is like to be a scientist/inventor/entrepreneur and how much it takes to complete the entire process.  This was another great presentation and he made it clear how disgruntled he was about the entire industry and how difficult it is to succeed as an entrepreneur.
We then went on to tour the Chiasma facilities where they test out all their drugs on rats.  I had worked at home doing stem-cell research on rats before going to law school but that was academic and it was interesting to see the high tech industry side of research.
From there we went on to a company called Omrix Biopharmaceuticals where we were given a presentation on their business.  What they do is make products that stop bleeding by filtering clotting factors out of blood to put them into their products.  After the presentation and factory tour I know that this is much more difficult than it sounds.  There is apparently a huge market for their products and they are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand.  This company was having issues with working on Shabbat, also known as Saturday which is the Jewish day of rest. 
From there we went to tour Jerusalem once again because it was close by and then we came back to the hotel.  I was exhausted and went to bed soon after coming back home.

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