A medical research revolution is taking place in Israel, leading to the development of previously unimaginable scientific breakthroughs. Many of these innovations are centered around bioconvergence, a recent trend in medical research that combines biology, engineering, AI, machine learning, 3D printing, and nanotechnology, alongside other related fields. Although the interdisciplinary study of medicine is nothing new, recent advancements in computing, genomics, data technology, and artificial intelligence have opened the door to numerous creative solutions for persistent medical hurdles.
Despite its small size, Israel is a global leader in bioconvergence research and development. With over 600 active medical device companies exporting a total of $1.6 billion, Israel is ranked 4th in the World Quotations Index for its groundbreaking multidisciplinary research.
Israeli bioconvergence companies are currently developing a wide array of medical technologies to revolutionize medical care. Precise-Bio, for example, is the first company in the world to bioprint a fully functional cornea in a para-clinical trial. Haifa-based NanoGhost applies bioconvergence in a different direction, programming nanorobotic drug delivery systems that can specifically target cancerous cells. Six out of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies use CytoReason, a Tel Aviv-based company that uses computational models to simulate human disease on a cellular level.
Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology, combining advanced engineering and medical advancements, is emerging as a particularly notable field in Israeli biotech. OOC technology grows human tissue with the function of a specific organ outside of the body, providing opportunities to test experimental medication without risk to a patient. In addition to substantially lowering the cost of pharmaceutical research and development costs, OOC has the potential to significantly decrease the reliance of animal testing in medical research.
Another exciting field of Israeli bioconvergence innovation is personalized medicine. The recent decline in operating costs for DNA sequencing and data storage has widened the scope of individualized genetic testing to a broader market. Israeli start-ups like Caligenix, C2i Genomics, Sequentify, and others apply new technologies and previously unaffordable DNA testing for individual patient use.
The following are a few Israeli bioconvergence companies at the forefront of cutting-edge technological, chemical, and biomedical advancements:
Precise Bio is a regenerative medicine company advancing the use of bio-printed tissues and organs in ophthalmology patients. This platform comprises cell expansion, biomaterials, processes, printing technology, and other technologies.
NanoGhost is a drug-delivery technology that uses adult stem cells to transport medicine directly to the tumor site. The technology has already proven successful in treating pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, and brain cancer in mice. The platform is based on nano-vesicles, termed Nano-Ghosts (NGs), which are technologically reconstructed from the cell membranes of naturally targeted allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), after removing their cytoplasm and nuclei.
CytoReason is a technology company developing a computational model of the human body that simulates human disease on a cellular level, minimizes the need for animal trials, and makes human trials more focused and accurate. To date, six of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies use CytoReason’s technology to bring the right drug to the right patient at the right price.
Tissue Dynamics is a groundbreaking Jerusalem-based biotechnology company that is committed to fundamentally transforming drug and cosmetic development by advancing next-generation organ on chip (OOC) tools for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmetic industries. The company’s cutting-edge bionic OOC platform provides critical tools for faster, safer, and more effective drug development while substantially cutting research and development costs.
Caligenix is a biotechnology company developing personalized genomic diagnostic kits. The company’s mission is to increase understanding of the link between genetic variation and individual dietary response as well as the overall role of nutrients in gene expression.
C2i Genomics offers post-surgery monitoring of cancer recurrence and progression by analyzing subtle changes in the pattern of the tumor’s DNA. Based on bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, it compares thousands of data points obtained from patients’ periodic liquid biopsy blood tests to their own baseline of sequenced tumor tissue and whole-genome analysis.
Sequentify aims to make targeted DNA sequencing as common, fast, and affordable as a blood test, enabling significant growth in personalized medicine.
Sources: Innovation Israel, Start-Up Nation Central