BioWorld International Correspondent

ZICHRON YAAKOV, Israel - Eli Opper, Israeli chief scientist from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor (MoIT) personally hosted the first official Israeli exhibition at the BIO 2005 annual international convention in Philadelphia last week.

He led a delegation of some 30 Israeli enterprises. Their focus was on stem cells and the central nervous system, with Ruth Alon, partner in Pitango Venture Capital, of Tel Aviv, Israel, and co-founder and chair of the Israel Life Science Industry (ILSI), a prime mover in the effort.

Opper referred to the proactive role being taken by the MoIT to attract foreigner development and also to the attractive package of tax benefits and other financial incentives being offered to major foreign investors, admitting that other sectors might suffer, at least temporarily.

The Second Annual Life Sciences Conference will take place at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem on June 30 to develop Israeli life science start-ups and help promote them to global investors. Conference speakers include Lester Crawford, acting commissioner of the U.S. FDA. Presenters represent leading global investment banks and venture capitalists.

Nechama Novack, director of operations, Israel, for Global Capital Associates, which is hosting the event, told BioWorld International that they were very encouraged by the ILSI findings that 52 percent of the nearly 400 companies in the arena were created during the past five years, and there are about 50 new start-ups each year.

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