Six reasons why OurCrowd is investing in this Israeli COVID-19 vaccine

Welcoming delegates to the 2019 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit under the banner "Startups: Making a Global Impact"

Today we announced our decision to back Israel’s leading coronavirus vaccine candidate

There is nothing more important for the world right now than developing a vaccine against the coronavirus. Many things are necessary for us to get through this crisis – testing, medical equipment, personal protection, better therapeutics – but creating a COVID-19 vaccine and deploying it across the globe is the key to preventing millions more from dying and overloading countries’ health systems. That is why today OurCrowd announced our decision to back Israel’s leading coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by MigVax, based on research from the Migal Galilee Research Institute in Kiryat Shemonah in the Galilee.

There are hundreds of teams around the world racing to develop an effective vaccine. Several of the most promising pieces of research are being conducted here in Israel, including projects by leading scientists at Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The coronavirus vaccine being developed by Migal CEO David Zigdon and his team of top scientists for MigVax is different to the others. Here are six reasons why:

  1. The MigVax vaccine is oral, making it very simple to administer.
  2. It doesn’t use any form of the virus itself – either live or dead – making it safer to develop and for immune-compromised patients.
  3. It is based on a vaccine for another strain of coronavirus in birds that has already been tested on live animals and proved to be safe and effective.
  4. It develops a three-pronged protection via mucosal immunity; blood-based immunity through antibodies; and cell-mediated immunity through T-cell response.
  5. It offers significant advantages in manufacturing and cost as its production is based on the well-known process of bacterial fermentation, so it can be scaled quickly to provide the millions of vaccine doses required to stamp out the pandemic.
  6. The MigVax solution is a platform. The strategy they are developing is not just specific to the current strain of COVID-19. The platform looks like it will provide an effective basis to develop vaccines for other forms of coronavirus now and in the future.
Working on the coronavirus vaccine at the Migal Galilee research Institute. OurCrowd hopes to help develop a response to this horrific disease (Photo: Migal Galilee Research Institute)

In 2019, OurCrowd hosted the largest business event then held in Israel under the banner “Startups: Making a Global Impact.” Today’s investment in MigVax promises to be the most impactful investment we have ever made. We believe that innovation, in addition to increasing prosperity and rewarding the genius of brilliant entrepreneurs, also provides the opportunity to improve people’s lives. What could make more of an impact than developing a vaccine or a cure for this horrific disease that has already claimed the lives of more than 170,000 people in just four months and caused worldwide economic chaos?

In such a crisis, nimble innovation empowered by swift, flexible investment can shine, helping shatter the darkness of this terrible crisis by illuminating the path toward the exit. It is at times like these that venture investors can instantly provide the resources for the world’s most brilliant minds to develop the cures, vaccines and other solutions we need to emerge from our current nightmare. The rapid development of OurCrowd in seven short years to become the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform and Israel’s most active venture investor now seems like a preparation for just this moment – when we can draw on our worldwide network of partners, deep knowledge of Israeli innovation, and more than $1.4 billion of committed funds to help develop the solution that the world requires, right now.

This investment joins the dozens of OurCrowd companies already fighting the pandemic – either by providing equipment, software and diagnostics for frontline medical use, or mitigating the social, economic and educational effects of the broader crisis. We are actively looking to fund more solutions and hunting worldwide for the technologies that will help to end this pandemic and mitigate its effects. We want to hear from more entrepreneurs so we can give them the resources they need to do what innovation does best: move fast and fix things.

WEBINAR, APRIL 22: Join me for a discussion about the MigVax vaccine with David Zigdon, CEO of the Migal Galilee Research Institute, and other experts in a live Webinar on Wednesday, April 22 at 12:30 EST, 19:30 IDT. Register here: https://ourcrowd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BoqvIrtiSZGzJnBpPfJgHQ

About the Author
Jonathan Medved is the founder and CEO of OurCrowd, the world’s leading global equity crowdfunding platform. Medved is a serial entrepreneur and investor, according to the Washington Post “one of Israel’s leading high tech venture capitalists.” In 2015 Medved was named one of the “50 most influential Jews.” He invested in almost 200 startups, helping to bring 15 of them to values in excess of $100M. Exits include: Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay), Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN), Answers.com (Nasdaq: ANSW, acquired by Summit), Cyota (acquired by RSA/CA), Finjan (Nasdaq: FNJN), Mobile Access (acquired by Corning), Tradeum (acquired by VerticalNet), Native Networks (acquired by Alcatel), Broadlight (acquired by Broadcom), Xacct (acquired by Amdocs), Business Layers (acquired by CA), Xtellus (acquired by Oclaro), and Digital Fuel (acquired by VMWare). Between 2006-2012, Medved was the co-founder and CEO of Vringo and led the company to a successful IPO on the NYSE. Medved is a frequent guest and commentator on U.S. and Global TV: PBS, CNN, CNBC, BNN, Bloomberg, CBN, CBC, BBC, ReutersTV, CCTV.
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