The survey of Israel's biotechnology sector - how to sustain and promote it - that was to be conducted by Monitor Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., has been stalled due to differences of opinion between the government and Monitor management.

This is considered a blessing in disguise by some leaders in the biotechnology and high-technology sectors who saw little need to spend the $400,000 fee, which they said could be better invested, for example, in setting up a GMP manufacturing facility to serve the practical needs of young companies.

The plan to hire the U.S. consulting firm followed the November 1998 publication by Dr. Ilan Kuziatin of a report on Israel's biomedical industry, commissioned by the Ministry of Industry & Trade and the government's chief scientist, Dr. Orna Berry. The report recommended government investment of about $100 million a year in biotech and the establishment of a state authority for biotechnology affairs.- Rachelle H.B. Fishman