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Cooperation Between Israel and Japan in the Life Sciences

Israel is also home to a number of pharmaceutical companies; with such a vibrant life sciences sector, it’s clear why countries such as Japan are looking to Israel to help expand their own parallel sectors
A main street in Shinjuko,Tokyo, one of the commercial and administrative centers of the city, October 13, 2015. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
A main street in Shinjuko,Tokyo, one of the commercial and administrative centers of the city, October 13, 2015. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The flourishing economic relationship between Israel and Japan has been well documented in recent years. Mutual visits by each country’s Prime Minister as well as numerous bilateral business delegations have strengthened the foundation for economic cooperation for years to come. This is extremely significant for Israel. Japan boasts the 3rd largest economy in the world and is home to some of the largest global technology and automotive companies. So, what, one might ask, is Japan seeking in Israel? The answer: world class R&D and innovation that, combined with Japanese know-how, ingenuity and capital, will keep the two countries and their joint creativity at the forefront of global innovation for years to come.

One sector of the global economy that is of particular interest for these two nations is Life Sciences, an area that is undergoing profound and rapid technological change. Transitions to digital healthcare – which reduces costs for healthcare providers while simultaneously improving the care to patients – is one area where Israel has excelled for a number of years. Developments in personalized medicine, which includes genome-specific treatment, is another area where Israel’s rich and diverse medical and technological communities offer Japanese companies an amazing springboard for R&D and innovation.

Israel excels in a large number of the major life science sectors. These include medical devices, digital healthcare and pharmaceuticals. In the medical device industry, Israel is known as a global leader for its diverse development activity and exports. The success of the medical device segment is due to Israel’s prowess in such fields as medical research, software development, computer vision, engineering, artificial intelligence and more.

Digital healthcare is a rapidly growing part of the Israeli life sciences industry and includes companies that specialize in analytics / big data, personalized medicine and administration. 54% of the Israeli companies in the field develop consumer-oriented products. Israel is also home to a number of pharmaceutical companies and commercialization organizations encompassing the entire medical value chain, from development to manufacturing – most prominent among them Teva, the world’s generic pharmaceuticals leader. According to the most recent statistics, there are 49 pharmaceutical manufacturers responsible for 9.4% of all exports.

With such a vibrant life sciences sector, it’s clear why countries such as Japan are looking to Israel to help expand their own parallel sectors.

To build on these relations, the Foreign Investments & Industrial Cooperation Authority of the Ministry of Economy and Industry, together with Noa Asher, Head of the Israeli Economic and Trade Mission to Japan, are hosting two Life Sciences conferences in Japan – in Osaka on March 8th and in Tokyo on March 9th. The goal of the conferences is to bring together leaders in life sciences from Japan and Israel to share knowhow and experience, explore new partnerships, showcase products and forge new relationships.

Some of the participating Israeli life sciences companies include:

Insightec – Insightec develops the Exablate platform which provides non-invasive treatments for a variety of oncology and gynecology indications. The Exablate platform uses revolutionary MRgFUS technology which combines high intensity focused ultrasound guided by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Persys Medical – Persys Medical is a global provider of innovative solutions designed for military, hospital, law enforcement, first response and emergency medicine personnel.

Vayaar – Vayaar develops sensors that enable an extensive breadth of applications ranging from breast cancer screening to detecting water leakage, food safety monitoring and many more. Their sensors, based on breakthrough technology, look into objects using technology that breaks through known barriers and brings highly sophisticated imaging to your fingertips.

Sensible Medical – Sensible has developed a wearable thoracic fluid status monitor for non-invasive measurement and monitoring of lung fluid, for patients with fluid management problems such as those living with heart failure, taking diuretic medication or recovering from a coronary artery disease related event.

The two events will also include guest speakers including Noam Zilbershtain, General Manager of Digital CZT Detectors at GE Healthcare. Digital CZT Detectors are used in a variety of nuclear medicine imaging systems and they are currently exploring new innovations in the fields of medical imaging and homeland security.

Another speaker will be Gilad Peleg, Co-Founder and Director of Joy Ventures, an investment company focused on leveraging neurosciences to improve the human experience, and Mr. Hiroyuki Yashiro, President of TDK Lambda, which designs and produces power supplies in Israel and abroad, and more.

About the Author
Ziva Eger has been serving as Chief Executive of the Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation Authority at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry since October 2014. Eger, a retired IDF Colonel, received her BA and MA in Economics (with honors) from Tel Aviv University, an MA in Political Science from Haifa University, and another BA from the National Security College operated by the IDF. In the two years preceding this position, Ziva served as Chief of Staff of the Communication and Home Front Defense offices lead by Minister Gilad Erdan, where she was in charge of the promotion and execution of comprehensive reforms in the local communication market.
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