BioWorld International Correspondent

TEL AVIV, Israel - The Bio-Tech Israel 2005 meeting held near the end of May attracted more than 1,000 registered participants and 110 exhibitors.

Bio-Tech Israel was sponsored by the industry lobby and umbrella organization Israel Life Science Industry, along with Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative.

For the first time, the 15-member organizing committee actively sought the participation of medical device and emerging technology companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs.

"We agreed that a holistic approach is today the most effective way to address unmet medical needs. The most comprehensive solutions converge from across disciplines to improve the human condition," Aharon Schwartz, Bio-Tech Israel 2005 chairman, told BioWorld International.

"Most of us are providers of health care solutions, so we sought a new integrated and convergent format for the meeting, focusing on cancer, respiratory and inflammatory disorders, CNS and metabolic disorders," said Schwartz, who is senior vice president of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem.

In his global biotechnology prospective, Steven Burrill, CEO of the life sciences merchant bank Burrill & Co., of San Francisco, told BioWorld International that his firm looks the world over for innovative integrated technologies, adding that he would "like to see more mail in my inbox from Israelis."

The future, Burrill said, would include more personalized medicine, in form, dose and scheduling, based on in silico modeling. Also, diagnosis will become increasingly linked to therapy - called theranostics - with more sophisticated use of genomics and proteomics, Burrill said.

Traditionally, Western science and medicine have focused on illness, but Burill said that wellness or proactive prevention and lifestyle will become a bio-pharma target. Diet, and vitamin and mineral supplements will evolve into more science-based nutraceuticals as they become formulated on a personal genomics, proteonomics, glycomics and other metabolite knowledge.

The global life science financial perspective was presented by Frederick Frank, vice chairman of Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York. Frank told BioWorld International that biotechnology and other scientific advancements will not be able to reach full value in a world that does stick to social mores and bioethics, from child rearing to patient consent. He also suggested creative structuring of financing, and called for partnerships to bring new treatments to market that have not historically been defined as "economically viable."

Leroy Hood, president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, developed the first automated DNA sequencer in 1985 that Applied BioSystems brought to market in 1986, jump-starting the genomics revolution. He said to probe new meaningful molecular-level findings in biology requires not only new technology but integrated knowledge of complex living systems. After his speech, he reminded others over coffee that when the Human Genome Project just began, it was "more bookkeeping than discovery science."

The conference, held at the David Intercontinental Hotel, ended May 26.