Published On: Sun, Jan 10th, 2021

What’s New In The Israeli High Tech

By Michael Ordman

Vaccine rollout. 2 million+ Israelis have had their first Pfizer vaccination. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first of over 110,000 Israelis to receive the second dose. He also announced that Israel could be the first nation to be fully vaccinated. Inoculation of teachers and the over-50s has begun; the over-40s will start shortly.
Allergies? No problem. Some 100 Israelis with severe allergies are being vaccinated at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center as part of a pilot program.  Previously, those with severe allergies were turned away from health clinics because of the risk of serious reactions, including anaphylactic shock.
An effective anti-Covid nasal spray. The Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray, developed by Israeli-founded, Canada-based SaNOtize has proved 99.9% effective in lab tests by Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute. Phase 2 trials continue in Canada and are just beginning in UK hospitals.
A natural Covid-19 treatment? Israel’s Novel Concepts Medical claims to have developed a combination of natural compounds that significantly decreases the amount of coronavirus spike protein, which binds the virus to the lungs. If its US patent application is approved, it will progress to clinical trials.
Groundbreaking heart surgery. Instead of open-heart surgery, doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center performed the world’s first catheterizations to unblock heart valves, including of a 96-year-old woman. They used the “ShortCut” – a tiny knife inside a catheter, developed together with Israeli startup Pi-Cardia.
Improved diagnosis of heart problems. Researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed a way to detect heart problems based on routine electrocardiography (ECG). The new system demonstrated 96 percent average accuracy in diagnosing the various conditions, compared to 80% for currently available algorithms.

The correct personal treatment for cancer. Israel’s OncoHost has achieved about 90% accuracy in predicting how melanoma and lung cancer patients respond to various therapies. And now Israeli Nobel Prize winner Professor Aaron Ciechanover has joined OncoHost’s scientific advisory board.  

$1 billion for cancer therapies. Israel’s Biond Biologics has signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Sanofi for its innovative cancer therapies. Biond will receive $125 million up-front with more than $1 billion in potential payments. Biond’s plans BND-22 human trials to start mid-2021.

Searching for pancreatic cancer cures. This article describes the work of 3 Israeli scientists who received grants from the Israel Cancer Research Fund to research pancreatic cancer therapies. They include cell profiling to find early-stage markers; how glucose affects resistance; and cancer spreading along nerve fibers. 

Artificial cornea restores sight. Surgeons at Rambam Medical Center conducted the first implant of a synthetic cornea from Israel’s CorNeat. 78-year-old Israeli Arab Jamal from Haifa was able to see clearly immediately after the transplant, for the first time in 10 years.

Rolling out the vaccine.  Israel ramps up vaccinations, with 379,000 inoculated so far. Health authorities say some 100,000 people received the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday alone after vaccination centers were established in hospitals to help HMOs with the workload; Edelstein hopes for 150,000 vaccinated a day soon.

Fat treatment proved to kill Covid-19. Hebrew University scientists have completed a study of 1500 Covid-19 patients receiving anti-cholesterol treatments. The study showed fast recovery and no deaths. Now a full clinical trial is to commence on the fat-busting treatment Fenofibrate (Tricor).

Microbiota shrinks melanoma tumors. A small Phase 1 trial of 10 terminally ill melanoma patients at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center resulted in the lives of two patients being extended and one cured completely. Doctors transplanted fecal material from the gut microbiome of previously cured melanoma patients.

New approach to Dry Eye Disease. Israel’s Azura Ophthalmics is tackling Dry Eye Disease (DED) by preventing its root cause – Dysfunction of the Meibomian Gland or MGD. Azura has reported good results during the Phase 2 clinical trials of its AZR-MD-001 ointment, applied to the lower eyelid.

Blood test detects early-stage lung cancer. In tests, the Lung EpiCheck blood test developed by Israel’s Nucleix detected 85% of early-stage lung cancers among smokers and ex-smokers with a high risk for developing the disease. On low-risk individuals, the accuracy increased to 91%.

The sight of blood. Israel’s Scopio Labs has added software to its next generation of high-powered microscopes. It uses AI to scan, digitize and analyze blood for hematological diagnosis. Scopio has just received FDA clearance for its Full Field Peripheral Blood Smear Application.

  More vaccines arrive. The first 120,000 doses of the 6 million coronavirus vaccines ordered from Moderna have arrived in Israel. These are to be primarily used to vaccinate homebound citizens. Over 1.5 million Israelis have now received their first vaccination and millions more Pfizer vaccines are arriving this coming week.

Why Israel is a Covid-19 vaccination leader. The reasons for Israel’s high vaccination rate include universal healthcare, loyalty to health funds, focus on prevention, experience with emergencies and flu vaccines, secure access to patient medical records, hi-tech systems, publicity about vaccine availability and a willing public.
Green passports for vaccinated citizens. Israel’s Health Ministry is to issue “green passport” for Israelis who have been inoculated against the coronavirus. The app or printout will enable access to cultural and sporting events, museums, conferences, and possibly restaurants, cafes, malls, hotels, gyms and swimming pools.
Safe removal of blood clots. Israel’s Ceretrieve has designed and developed CathTrap, a unique catheter for neuro-thrombectomy – the fast and safe removal of blood clots from the brain that are the common cause of strokes. The CathTrap device has an expandable soft tip that enlarges its diameter to encompass the whole clot.

Minimally invasive lung biopsies. Analysis of suspicious lesions in the lungs used to involve surgery. But the new bronchoscopic navigation system at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, now enables Israeli doctors to take biopsies even from the more distant peripheral regions of the lungs – all without having to make an incision. 
Robot-guided knee surgery. Surgeons at Israel’s Galilee Medical Center successfully replaced the knee joints of two Israeli women. They used robots to adapt the implants to the precise anatomical structure of the patients. In addition, the surgeons were able to simulate the surgery in advance and in real-time. 
Radiology scans can save European lives. Israel’s IMedis has received European CE approval for its AI-based quality control system for radiology departments. The IMedis system can identify anomalies that may be missed by the radiologist in an initial reading, that may otherwise lead to cancer. 
Spray-on skin rolls out to Europe. The breakthrough SpinCare wound protection system from Israel’s Nanomedic is now being used in hospitals in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. The news was reported in the normally anti-Israel UK Guardian.  
Prize for human tissue printer. Israel’s Matricelf has won Calcalist’s StartUp+ competition for its platform that enables 3D printing of tissues and organs. Matricelf developed the technology that Tel Aviv University scientists used to 3D print the first heart produced from human tissue. 
Fifteen uses for Hyperbaric Oxygen.  There are three HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) centers in Israel. Citizens can get treatment for 15 conditions including decompression sickness, wound healing, and strokes. But it can potentially also treat PTSD, cerebral palsy, complex pain, fibromyalgia, cognitive decline and even aging.   
Israel shines at virtual CES 2021. The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2021 – the first to be held virtually, featured more than two dozen Israeli-founded companies – 19 in the virtual Israeli pavilion. Two, OrCam and Voiceitt, had already won CES 2021 “Best of Innovation” Awards. 
Intel’s new Israeli-developed processors. Intel announced two “made in Israel” microprocessors at CES 2021 – Rocket Lake and Alder Lake. Intel also announced its partnership with Israel’s Cybereason, who will develop the first PC hardware security solution to protect businesses against ransomware attacks.
Radar for the road ahead. Israel’s Arbe Robotics is planning to launch its high-resolution vehicle radar in 2022. The technology outperforms standard radar, which misinterprets stationary objects, and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) which suffers in snow, fog or bright light.  
Facial authentication. Intel Israel’s face recognition tool RealSense has now been enhanced to provide secure and accurate facial authentication. It can even recognize a face with new facial hair or glasses. 
Non-polluting buses. There are currently some 80 municipal electric buses operating in Israel. New funding of NIS 47 million will increase this number to 200. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has now issued its roadmap for all Israeli bus companies to transition to zero-emission buses by 2025.

3D sport on TV. Israeli hi-tech startup IMD Technologies (IMDT) has partnered with UK-based virtual reality (VR) startup Condense Reality to develop a new system for streaming hologram-style 3D video. It allows viewers to watch live sports events in full surround 3D either with a VR headset or even on their tabletop. 
Growing where no crops could grow before. Israeli-founded, Texas-based Qualitas Health has developed iwi, a microalgae source of protein and omega-3 that grows in saltwater. Although now US-owned, Qualitas’ largest investor is Israel’s Minrav and Israeli-founded PeakBridge VC helped raise $10 million of new funds.  
Saving people from fire. Israeli-founded A2Z Technologies Corp has developed two fire-safety products. The first is a vehicle system that includes turning the fuel in the gas tank into a gel in the event of a collision. The second is a fire-fighting robot that extinguishes fires from inside the fire. The 2nd video has English captions.

Smart shopping trolleys. Israel’s Cust2Mate, now part of Israeli-founded A2Z Technologies Corp, has developed a smart shopping trolley. Input your shopping list into the mobile app, and the smart cart will guide you through the store. Currently in Israeli trials and soon reported to go on sale in the UAE.
Another alternative to milk. Researchers from Tel Aviv University are developing vegan milk that comes “from yeast, not beast”. Like Israel’s Remilk, the product has the same proteins, taste, aroma, and texture as dairy milk, but no hormones, antibiotics, lactose or environmentally damaging cows.  
A compressed air battery. Israel’s Augwind has won an Israeli government tender to build Israel’s first battery using compressed air technology, to store renewable energy and generate electricity when required. Augwind and France’s EDF will build and operate a power plant and storage system in Israel’s Negev desert.
Air conditioner kills coronavirus. Israeli air conditioning company Tadiran has developed an air purifier that kills 99.999% of germs, bacteria and viruses including SARS-COV-2 that causes Covid-19. The “Air Care 02” system converts air moisture to hydrogen peroxide, which eradicates the pathogens.

Radar defense for US tanks. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has just delivered its WindGuard (ELM-2133) radar systems to the American military. The radar system, which protects tanks from threats such as anti-tank missiles, has already been in use on Israel’s own Merkava tank for some time.
Measuring the removal of CO2. Israel’s Albo combines Satellite imaging, Artificial Intelligence and computer models to help farming and forestry organizations implement the best environment friendly practices. Forests and agriculture are two of the top ways to remove (sequester) carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
How to get a job in hi-tech. So many non-technical Israelis and non-Israelis ask about how to begin a career in the well-paid, high demand hi-tech industry. This article gives some helpful tips. 
Surgical mask is 99.999% effective. Nothing is 100% perfect, but the “Germs Over” surgical mask made by the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR), together with Hadassah and the start-up Tera Novel, is good enough to protect against Covid-19.  The mask has just been verified and approved by Israel’s Health Ministry.
Anti-microbial fabric keeps clothes fresh. Israeli-based NILIT manufactures fabric made with its Sensil BodyFresh additive. Microbe Investigations AG (MIS), a microbiological testing services lab showed that the fabric demonstrated a 99.85% reduction in viral activity. 
Airships are on the rise. Israel’s Atlas LTA is developing a new innovative generation of airships. Their uses include transporting heavy cargo (especially offshore), fighting fires, construction cranes, humanitarian aid delivery and tourism. They are eco-friendly, low cost, require no runways and can fly up to 120 km/hour.
Advanced drones for civilian purposes. Israel’s Xtend previously made drones only for military purposes, for example, to intercept some 2500 arson kites and balloons from Gaza. Its latest use, though, was civilian – delivering coronavirus test kits to a ship at sea so it could safely dock at Haifa.
Drone, drone on the range! (Sorry for the pun) Instead of using cowboys, whips and barking dogs, Israeli startup BeeFree Agro uses buzzing drones to herd cows. It says it produces a calmer, less stressful environment for cattle. BeeFree have had interest from the UAE who want to use the technology to herd camels. 
Food for thought. Israel’s Technion Institute hosted the 34th annual conference of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) – the first to be held on-line. This year’s theme was “Bridging High-tech, Food-tech and Health: Consumer-oriented Innovations” and focused on the future of world food. 
Using nature to preserve fruit juice. Students at Israel’s Technion Institute won the MicroBiome-Push project of “Food Solutions” – an educational program of the European food consortium, EIT Food. They used a naturally occurring bacteriophage (safe to humans) to destroy the bacteria that spoils natural fruit juice. 

Saving the vine. Israel’s Lavie-Bio has reported successful vineyard trials of its two leading bio-fungicides LAV311 and LAV312 for bunch rot diseases.
Printed meat. Israel’s Meat-Tech 3D is developing a unique, proprietary 3D bioprinter for printing slaughter-free cultured meat.   
Space camera success. Israel’s ScoutCam has announced the success of its micro ScoutCam 8.0 HD in NASA’s third Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM3) of the International Space Station. The camera was used during the mission which went into orbit on October 19th.
High power wireless recharging. Israel’s Powermat has unveiled its upgraded wireless charging platform. It can provide up to 50W of power charge devices wirelessly up to 20 cm through thick surfaces such as walls, glass (windows), and various other non-metallic materials.
“Waze” for cranes. Israel’s UltraWis has transformed the cockpit of the construction site crane into that of an aircraft. Cranes are controlled from hi-tech cabins on the ground, with no on-board operator. The technology includes image processing, 3D-modeling and Augmented Reality. It is currently being trialed in Israel.

Garbage to electricity. Jerusalem municipality has authorized the building of a new facility for the sorting and processing of garbage. Located in the Mishor Adumim area between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, it will convert waste residues into energy, for generating electricity.
The next Israeli mission to the Moon. Israel’s SpaceIL has published a video describing its plan to land two spacecraft on the surface of the Moon in 2024. The mothership will orbit the Moon for more than two years while students, scientists and engineers globally will be able to communicate with it and perform experiments.
AI to help athletes with nutrition. Israel’s Newt has developed an Artificial Intelligent platform which tracks a user’s daily habits to keep their diet in check. Newt initially focused on helping amateur athletes achieve their personalized nutrition goals, but anyone can apply its clinical and behavioral elements to their day-to-day life.
Educating children about AI. Israel’s Edgify has authored a book to teach children (and many adults) about Artificial Intelligence. “Edgify – A New School of Thinking in AI Training” follows Goldie the fish as she and her friends try to cross the ocean to a coral paradise by shared learning. See also video about Edgify in Retail. 

Developing the car of the future. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Innovation Lab in Tel Aviv aims is to advance state-of-the-art mobility. Its 30 projects with Israeli startups focus on vision sensors, cybersecurity, data, and AI. Israel is one only three Alliance innovation hubs. The others are in the USA and China.
Face recognition for e-scooters. E-scooter provider Bird is to implement face recognition technology from Israel’s AU10TIX. It will help deny access to underage riders and prevent fraud on its platform. An 8-second ID scan upon initial registration confirms the identity of the user. Subsequent rental requests are then checked.
Recycling used facemasks. Most of the 52 billion disposable facemasks produced in 2020 will eventually be thrown away. Israel’s UBQ Materials now includes Personal Protection Equipment in its recycling process without adversely affecting the reusable thermoplastic material produced.
Where to recharge my electric car? Israel’s Cellopark Technologies will develop and operate a government-run app for electric vehicle drivers to locate the closest charging stations to their location. Station operators in Israel include EVI-Sonol, EV-EDGE, Gingergy and Afcon, but their apps only locate their own charge stations.
Five Hebrew U alumni in top 10 of their field. Stanford University’s world rankings included five previous Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professors in the world top 10 of AI, nanotechnology, sociology/anthropology and chemistry. Steve Weiner (now at Weizmann) is No. 1 in the field of historical sciences.

You can check-in anytime you want. Israeli startup As You Stay lets travelers save money at 400,000+ hotels and properties by eliminating fixed check-in and check-out times. It also states that the current cost of this flexibility is far lower than pre-pandemic. And, unlike the song “Hotel California”, you can always leave! 

Self-driving cars for everyone. Israel’s Amnon Shashua, Mobileye President and CEO, announced at the virtual CES 2021 event that its technology would make fully Autonomous Vehicles a reality in 2022 and widely available by 2025. Its Radar / LIDAR and camera-based AVs would be safer than vehicles driven by humans.

Mental therapy is a growth business. Israeli-founded, New York-based Talkspace has attracted huge numbers of customers during the pandemic. It is growing so fast that it could soon go public.  
Check your metabolism at the gym. When the Anytime Fitness gyms reopen in the UK, its 170,000 members will be able to enhance their fat burning program using Israel’s Lumen device.
Rapyd becomes a double Unicorn. Israel’s Rapyd has just raised a huge $400 million to give it a market valuation of $2.5 million.  Rapyd’s real-time funds transfer platform is now used in more than 170 countries. Rapyd will use the funds to increase its workforce and purchase additional companies. 

Investment in Israeli startups: Israeli Tech Year 2020: Record-Breaking $9.9 Billion In Financing Rounds, a Decline in Exits

  • Israeli High-Tech companies raised $9.9 billion in 578 deals, an increase of 27% in the volume of capital and a 14% increase in the number of deals compared to 2019.
  • A record number of publicly-traded Israeli tech companies raised $6.55 billion by 121 companies compared to $1.95 billion by 68 companies in 2019.
  • A significant decline in M&As in deals under $5 billion: $7.8 billion (in 93 deals) down from $14.24 billion (in 143 deals) in 2019.

 Eight joint US-Israel clean energy projects. The US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program is granting $7.15 million to eight US-Israel clean energy projects. The Israelis are Addionics, ECOncrete, Eviation, POCellTech (Hydrolite), StoreDot, Tadiran Batteries, TurboGen and VisIC. 

Israeli in Dubai for diamonds and organics. For the first time, Israelis took part in the largest rough diamond tender by the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC). Meanwhile Eco Friend and Arugot were among three companies in the Israeli booth at the Middle East Organic and Natural Products Expo in Dubai.

Germany seeks Israeli startups. The non-profit Elnet is dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel ties. Its German office is launching GINSUM – the German Israeli Network of Startups and Mittelstand (small and medium-size businesses). The German Government uniquely is giving GINSUM a grant of $850,000.  
Israel sent 10 million flowers to Europe. Israel’s 250 flower growers sent 10 million flowers to European and Scandinavian flower markets during December in preparation for the holiday season. Israeli flowers are sought after for their high quality and long shelf life, the results of Israeli research and innovation.

Almost too fast. Good article listing some of Israel’s recent business changes. They include Credit card PIN codes, contactless payments, contactless ATMs, home delivery and … the wearing of face masks! 
Doubling up on a takeaway boom. Israeli-founded 10bis is now owned by Dutch company Just Eat Takeaway, but still based in Israel. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased demand for meal card and food delivery services and 10bis is recruiting to double staff numbers at its Tel Aviv R&D center.
The Japanese can breathe easier. Israel’s Aura Smart Air has signed a $30 million deal with Japanese distributor J-TEC to supply the Japanese market with its air filtration and disinfection systems. It is hoped that the air purifiers can help re-open Japan’s 100,000 karaoke bars, closed due to Covid-19.

Government fund for early-stage startups. The Israel Innovation Authority has set up a new NIS 80 million fund to encourage investments in early-stage companies. Grants will be given to startups that team up with veteran investors. The aim is to help seed-stage startups developing tech solutions in high-risk fields. 
New record for foreign currency reserves. The Bank of Israel has used the strengthening of the Shekel to purchase more foreign currency.  The reserves leaped by over $6 billion in the last month of 2020 to a new record of more than $173 billion. 
Surge in available tech jobs. The Secret Tel Aviv Job Board, a popular platform used by Anglos and Israelis in Tel Aviv, primarily in the tech sector, has seen a bounce-back to pre-pandemic demand levels, despite Israel entering its fourth lockdown. The board now has over 2,300 jobs available – more than ever before.
Upgrading Greek air force. Israel’s Elbit has won a $1.68 billion contract to build a training center for the Greek air force, in the largest defense deal ever between the two countries. It includes a flight training school, planes, simulators, and Israeli trainers.  The historic contract’s 20-year duration signifies long-term cooperation.  
Helping startups make contacts. Israel’s Lusha helps small, medium and large businesses establish a fast and trusted connection with their leads, contacts, and candidates. Lusha is used daily by over 250,000 sales representatives, recruitment managers, and marketers. Clients including Google, Amazon, and Apple.    
Bringing cultured meat to Japan. Israel’s Aleph Farms is partnering with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group to bring cultivated (slaughter-free) meat to the Japanese table. It will help reduce Japan’s reliance on imported food and to reach its goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Transport for elderly Japanese. Japanese insurance giant Sompo and Israeli ridesharing company Via have launched NORAZA – a new app that enables elderly Japanese to share rides, paying with virtual local currency. Japan is trying to reduce car accidents involving the elderly and to reduce traffic congestion.
Buy and sell without cash. Israel’s Shareitt (Hebrew) has developed a social trading platform that facilitates the buying and selling of second-hand goods in exchange for Shareitt coins. The platform will trade books, toys, and sports goods, among others. Shareitt has around 10,000 active users who have sold more than 61,000 items.
Smart vertical farms for Ukraine. Israel’s Vertical Field is to set up vertical farming installations at Ukrainian supermarket chain Varus.

Trigo raised $60 millionSuperpedestrian raised $60 millionToka raised $25 millionAzure Opthalmics raised $20 millionEvogene raised $12 millionBlazePod raised $8.5 millionMeat-Tech 3D raised $7 million;

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- Michael Ordman highlights Israel's latest achievements in the fields of technology, health, business, and co-existence in a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.

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