Israel’s finance ministry has increased the amount of funding high-tech companies with a short runway, including biotechs, can apply for under a fast-track scheme run by independent, publicly funded agency The Israel Innovation Authority, in response to the country’s war against Hamas. The program has been boosted by an extra ₪300 million (US$74.7 million), bringing the total budget to about ₪400 million, and from this month will assess applications from startups facing financial difficulties. The move reflects the raft of pressures the political situation in the country is placing on pharma and biotech firms as they grapple to continue doing business in an environment of conflict and uncertainties.
In interviews with BioWorld, med-tech industry leaders in Israel noted up front that a hasty exit mid-conversation could occur in response to sirens alerting to missile attacks. Despite constant disruption, most companies said they were determined to maintain business as close to usual as possible. Still, challenges abound, including the potential mandatory military activation of CEO and key personnel, ongoing attacks and potential disruption or diversion of critical resources. The tenor remains positive, however, with companies praising strong support from the venture capital community and other investors and partners worldwide and the benefits of operations in the U.S.