BioWorld International Correspondent
TEL AVIV, Israel - Burrill & Co. and Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Israel have formed an alliance through PwC's Life Sciences Transaction Support unit (LTS) in Tel Aviv to accelerate global collaborations and strategic partnerships with Israeli biotech companies.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Israel's partner and director of LTS, Claudio Yarza, told BioWorld International: "Most opportunities for Israeli industry will come through partnerships and collaborations because it is increasingly hard to raise money on a worldwide basis. Burrill brings the very highest level of professionalism and knowledge of the American and the international market, which complements our deep knowledge and involvement in the Israeli biotech industry."
Bernard Dichek, founder and publisher of BioIsrael.com, an online magazine about Israeli biotech based in Kfar Saba, said: "This is a real vote of confidence for Israel in these challenging times. It is not surprising that it comes from the U.S., where the level of cooperation and business activity remains fairly high, rather than from Europe. It is a double compliment because Burrill is a world leader in life sciences merchant banking and brings a global perspective to PricewaterhouseCoopers' local expertise here."
The political situation in the neighborhood has generated worldwide reactions, including academic and economic boycotts, but Yarza noted that the "decreasing investment in Israel is quite similar to other parts of the world, reflecting a global economic situation, rather than the political situation, which will hopefully be resolved shortly."
He added optimistically, "We look at this connection with Burrill & Co. as a long-term relationship in a global context, where the bottom line is not where the technology originates, but its inherent excellence, because it will help people all over the world."
In the company's announcement Monday, G. Steven Burrill, CEO of San Francisco-based Burrill & Co., said, "We are very excited about the collaboration with PwC/LTS. As part of our due diligence before signing this alliance, scientific and commercial teams from both companies initially reviewed 120 of the top Israeli life sciences operations and generated a list of companies with highly partnerable products and technologies. We're confident that our skills are matched to accelerate value creation for both sides of the transaction, and, most important, streamline the ultimate commercialization of products and technologies that will benefit all mankind."
"Of the 200 or so biotech operations in Israel right now, the majority will not attain their optimum potential without partnering and collaborations," agreed Yarza, who also is in charge of PwC/Life Science Practice, the life sciences corporate finance arm of Kesselman & Kesselman PricewaterhouseCoopers Israel.
It is no secret that a major stumbling block of Israeli biotech is not the lack of innovative products and discoveries, but the failure to form the right cooperative relationships for the development and marketing of those technologies worldwide, and this local-global alliance is designed to facilitate that matchmaking.
"The average time frame for partnering varies depending on the specific characteristics of the deal, but in general the process may take between one to one and a half years. We believe that this partnership will be able to significantly shorten this period and still maximize the total value of the deal, financial and non-financial," Yarza said.
Burrill sees the alliance with PwC/LTS as a good step for all life sciences deal-makers, to improve communication and accelerate forming bonds of trust that ultimately benefit all. Richard Haiduck, the Burrill director spearheading the team's participation in the joint effort, said, "Accelerating deal-making is the gist of the partnering business. This alliance is an innovative structure that helps meet strategic needs and goals of all parties in deals now and in the future and, ultimately, of all life sciences."