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IDEA Bio-Medical Launches into the US Market

AICC Credited with Introduction to MUSC

Rehovot-based IDEA Bio-Medical and Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) announced that they have completed the sale of IDEA Bio’s Hermes WiScan® system to MUSC’s Center for Drug Discovery.  “This sale marks IDEA Bio-Medical’s official entry into the US market,” said Ilan Friedman, Manager of Global Sales and Distribution Channels at IDEA Bio-Medical.

Hermes WiScan® is a breakthrough biological cell imaging desktop system that enables researchers, at all levels, to run a wide variety of biological applications at the push-of-a-button, using an extremely easy-to-use (tablet-style) touch screen mechanism.  The company offers a base system that meets most research needs, and an additional set of modular packages like Live Cell, Object Mapping, and more.  WiScan® technology originated at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and was further developed by IDEA Bio-Medical’s parent company as part of a commercialization agreement with YEDA – the Institute’s technology transfer arm.  The parent company, IDEA Machine Development, is an established Original Design Manufacturer that specializes in precision optics and laser-based technologies, and boasts such clients as KLA Tencor, HP, Orbotech, and the Israeli defense establishment.

IDEA Bio’s connection to the Southeast began with a meeting between its CEO, Shlomo Turgeman, and Tom Glaser, President of the Atlanta-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce during one of his visits to Israel.  Shlomo later hired Friedman, who arranged the meeting, to handle global sales and interact with distributors worldwide.  “My first order of business was to sign up IDEA Bio-Medical as a member of the Chamber, and to ask for its assistance in reaching Southeastern-based universities that conduct biomedical research.  Tom introduced me to several of his contacts at universities in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, and I soon had meetings lined up to discuss our system,” said Friedman.

“Having been involved with the Chamber, I was already aware of the amazing technologies coming out of Israel.  This is why I was curious to hear more about this system,” said Stephen Lanier, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Research MUSC.  He then turned it over to Patrick M. Woster, who is the South Carolina SmartState™ Endowed Chair for Drug Discovery at MUSC and Director of the Drug Design and Synthesis core facility, to test the system.  “Hermes is about the size of a large printer, processes information with incredible speed, and performs a wide variety of cell-based experiments that meet our overall research needs,” said Woster.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase Hermes was based on the technology and the need.  But the path which led to MUSC’s awareness of the system involved building upon relationships between people on both sides of the ocean.  In February 2011, AICC organized the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration with a grant support from Charleston-based The InterTech Group, designed to foster mutual relationships between companies in Israel and in South Carolina and their counterpart investors, partners and customers.  It is focused on six clusters, among them Biomedical, and includes educational events and business exchanges around companies and academia, and the organization of business and academic delegations.  In mid-November, the Chamber led a 26-person delegation to Israel.  The group, which was split between business people and academic researchers, among them Lanier, got a chance to see the system in action at the Weizmann Institute.

“We’re committed to doing business with Israeli-based companies, not only because of our strong connection to the country, but also because we recognize that so many advanced solutions are created in Israel.  IDEA’s product is an example of how Israeli ingenuity could produce a product that works better, faster, and more reliably than its competition, yet costs a fraction of it,” said Jonathan Zucker, President of The InterTech Group and chairman of the Collaboration.

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