Medical Device Daily Israel Correspondent
Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), located on two joint campuses with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shares many inventions as team discoveries of Hadassh and Hebrew University faculty in the medical, dental and pharmacy schools.
Hadasit, the TT office of Hadassah is about to take up residence on the Hebrew University-Hadassah Ein Kerem campus where Israel’s first fully-dedicated biomedical technology park, BioPark, is being built.
Stuart Bernstein, VP marketing and business development of Hadasit, told Medical Device Daily, “HMO has long been known for its cutting-edge clinical innovation, but scientific progress during this past year has been astounding. Hadassah is a microcosm of Israel’s life science industry with a solid academic R&D, patent-protected entrepreneurial base, poised to exponentially catalyze healthcare.”
Among Hadasit’s showcase of devices seeking licensing is an advanced percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) guiding catheter equipped with an additional inner lumen that runs along the full length of the main lumen allowing release of drugs and/or contrast agents directly to the coronary artery in uniform measured amounts. This is a technological breakthrough that makes treatment more controlled at lower does, and thus effective where some drugs fail or have too many side effects says cardiologist David Rott, HMO Mount Scopus campus. A prototype is at the animal testing stage.
Another PTCA innovation is a stent positioning or locator device for aorto-ostial lesions that can adapt its shape prior to contacting the ostium, that is, the interior bifurcated wall of a major blood vessel as it branches into a smaller one, such as the right coronary artery, left main, grafts, and also the renal artery.
This is not trivial. Current technical difficulties, such as improper seating of the guiding catheter and stent misplacement leading to stent migration during balloon inflation can be prevented by stent positioning. Proof-of-concept has been achieved in animal studies.
In ophthalmology, Hadassah claims a significant improvement on speed, accuracy and reproducibility with its prototype automated visual acuity device under development. This PC-based device includes a high-contrast computer monitor, a remote control pad and a proprietary patented threshold method and software, packaged in a convenient diagnostic product that meets the market demand for increased clinic flow with improved objectivity and standardized test results, while minimizing the boredom of both patient and examiner,” said Eytan Blumenthal, head, Glaucoma Service,Hadassah Ein Kerem .
One of Hadassah’s developments is a magnetic levitation platform for abdominal surgery. The platform can be inserted into a patient’s abdominal cavity via laparoscopic diagnosis or surgery, with enhanced field of vision and operation even with the keyhole incision. The platform is planned to include a light, video camera, wireless communication unit to transmit the images with feedback control of surgical instruments mounted on the platform.
A prototype is entering animal trials.
Still another Hadassah development is the one-handed biopsy gun for shorter, more efficient prostate diagnostics in suspected cancer patients.
The urologist or other operator will hold the biopsy gun with a stable four-finger grip, and operate a two-stroke cocking mechanism with the same hand. The ergonomically designed biopsy gun has a set of needles of varying stroke lengths that are selected in real time by transrectal ultrasonography making it easy to operate and able to extract more tissue, more accurately, with fewer punctures, and minimized patient complications.
In 2006, Hadasit introduced a revolutionary business model to commercialize early technology developments. Hadasit Bio-Holdings (HBL), Hadasit’s fully-owned subsidiary, was created as an entity to take nine HMO start-ups into a public offering HBL raised $NIS 43 million ($10 million) on the Tel Aviv Stock exchange, based on the promise of their technology.
Recently, the UK-based private equity Consensus Business Group (CBG) voted its confidence in the model. In May CBG acquired 4% of HBL for $2 million in a private placement of shares and warrants, with an option to acquire a further 4% for the same amount.
CBG manages $10 billion in assets, including a $500 million fund for investment in technology commercialization companies.
So, bridging the gap between discovery and application is art and science, both essential.
Swersky Sofer told MDD, “Education and research excellence are key to Israel’s future. Technology transfer provides a unique opportunity to help the university use its own resources to assist itself, and the nation.”
For example Weizmann Institute’s TT unit Yeda, grew annual royalty income from $1 million to $100 million. Yeda now registers about 80 patents a year, 75% of them in the life sciences.
Amir Naiberg, Yeda CEO, sums it up: “Yeda handles a wealth of new discoveries, technologies and inventions, all of them based on the cutting-edge research of some of the world’s top researchers at the renowned Weizmann Institute of Science. Come and see how these inventions can move from our pipeline to your bottom line.”