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Economic News – October 2012

  • The map applications of Ra’anana-based Waze have been recommended by Apple CEO Tim Cook in the wake of user frustration of the iPhone 5‘s “Maps” application.  Waze collects map data from all its users who can report traffic incidents and delays, and then gives directions based on that data to find the fastest driving route.  Ra’anana is Atlanta’s Sister City in Israel.
  • Omer-based Medigus has won a contract with NASA to supply its miniature video cameras and video processing equipment in a tender for the Robotic Refueling Mission to test the feasibility of robotic systems for making repairs and refueling the International Space Station.  Medigus is supplying its CMOS camera, originally designed for medical endoscopes, which it says is the smallest in the world.
  • Yokneam-based Given Imaging has acquired the assets of the SmartPill gastrointestinal monitoring system from Buffalo-based SmartPill Corporation for $6 million.  SmartPill is an ingestible capsule that uses sensor technology to measure pH, pressure, and temperature in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Jerusalem-based Intec Pharma will receive a US patent on October 30th for its accordion capsule and procedure for folding an integration of the system’s components.  The announcement comes one week after successful results in the Phase II clinical trial of its Levodopa accordion capsule for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Petah Tikva-based Can-Fite BioPharma will begin trading in the US through the launch of its American Depository Receipts.  The company has appointed the Bank of New York Mellon as its depository bank, and the ADRs will be tradeable by licensed US brokers.
  • Ra’anana-based Celeno Communications has secured a $24 million Series E round of funding that included existing investors Cisco, Liberty Global, Greylock Partners, and Pitango Venture Capital, and was joined by new investor Vintage Investment Partners.  The latest round brings the company’s total funding to more than $68 million.  Celeno provides high performance Wi-Fi chips and software for HD multimedia and entertainment home networking applications.
  • Caesarea-based CellEra was named for the second time in the prestigious 2012 Global CleanTech 100 list that highlights the promise of private clean technology companies from around the world, focusing on those companies which the players in the market feel are currently the most likely to make the most significant market impact over the next 5-10 years.  The company’s Platinum-Free Membrane Fuel Cell alleviates the major cost components of today’s fuel cells.
  • Yokneam-based CogniFit launched a new Tennis Focus cognitive training application to its online platform to train a large variety of skills such as focus, visual perception, visual scanning, and eye-hand coordination.  The company is a leading developer of online programs that allow consumers to assess and train their cognitive skills and abilities to improve their quality of life.
  • Israel’s economy will grow by 3.5% in 2012, after 4.6% growth in 2011 and 5% growth in 2010, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Private consumption growth will slow to 2.8% in 2012 from 3.8% in 2011 and 5.3% in 2010. However, the growth in public consumption will rise 3.8% in 2012 from 2.9% each in 2011 and 2010.
  • The U.S. and Israel inked a trade agreement on October 15 that is designed to spur trade between the two countries and make it easier for American companies to export telecommunications equipment to Israel. As a result of the agreement, American-produced telecommunications equipment can enter the Israeli market if a recognized U.S. laboratory has deemed that the product conforms with Israeli technical requirements, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
  • Israel’s unemployment rate rose to 6.9% in August, up from 6.6% in July according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.  The number of employees was 3.4 million, of whom 1.8 million were men and 1.61 million were women.
  • A record number of 2.3 million tourists visited Israel between January to August 2012, a 7% increase as compared with last year and 5% more than the record year of 2010 according to the Tourism Ministry.  August showed a 10% increase over the previous year.
  • Israel’s exports jumped 23.3% in the second quarter, more than double the initial estimate and a rebounding from a small gain in the first quarter.  Accordingly, the Central Bureau of Statistics revised first quarter growth to 3.1% from 2.8%, noting that the growth was faster than the average for OECD countries.

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