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Economic News from Israel

  • Citi is establishing its first accelerator in Israel for start-ups in the financial technology sector.  Based in Tel Aviv, the program will last four months during which start-ups will have access to Citi’s activities and know-how, and will get to meet senior executives worldwide.
  • Ra’anana-based Amdocs has reported robust growth in Q3 with revenue rising 4% to $841.3 million and net profit to $119.6 million from $98.8 million in the corresponding quarter.  The company maintains a major employment center in Atlanta.
  • Moshav Sarona-based Kaiima is in the final stages of a financing round of $50 million from Asian investors as well as current investors including Kleiner Perkins, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures.  The company develops improved varieties of crops using a proprietary advanced technology to replicate a crops’ genome, not modifying it through genetic engineering.
  • Yokneam-based Given Imaging today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted 510(k) clearance for the next generation PillCam, SB 3, which detects and monitors small bowel abnormalities associated with Crohn’s disease, obscure gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and iron deficiency anemia.   The system combines a 30% improvement in image resolution with adaptive frame rate technology to deliver more detailed small bowel images and coverage.  PillCam SB 3’s video processing engine has also been significantly improved.  Proprietary algorithms in the system’s new software enable even smarter video compilation that is 40% more efficient than PillCam SB 2.  The company’s North America headquarters is in Atlanta.
  • Tel Aviv-based biopharmaceuticals company Compugen has signed a $500 million collaboration agreement with Bayer Healthcare for antibody-based therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy.  Under the agreement, Bayer will have full control over further development and worldwide commercialization rights.
  • Rehovot-based Stratasys, developer and manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems, has teamed with the UPS Store as part of a test program that will make it the first US national retailer to offer 3D printing services to entrepreneurs, architects, start-ups, and other retail customers.  Stratasys 3D printers can create on-demand, custom objects of virtually any complexity in a fast and simple process.
  • Rosh Ha’Ayin-based Blue I, a developer of water quality monitoring systems, includes several multinational corporate customers including BASF, Yoplait, and Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Company which has had the Israeli system
    installed in 25 of their bottling plants worldwide.  The software solution offers both security and safety features for customers.
  • Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics has received approval by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy for a grant of $3.3 million to cover R&D expenses for 2013.  The company is a leading developer of placenta-based cell therapies, and has completed clinical trials in the Southeast.
  • Teva announced last week that its emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) 1.5 mg tablets are now
    widely available in the aisles of major retailers throughout the US with no age or point-of-sale restrictions.  Teva added that Plan B One-Step is the first emergency contraceptive to be available for over-the-counter sale to all consumers.
  • Graduates of Israeli universities have founded start-ups that have raised $1.64 billion according to the technology blog by Max Wolf who mined the CrunchBase database to find out how many start-ups have been founded by graduates of Israeli universities and their foreign peers.  Tel Aviv University was ranked 14th worldwide with Technion ranked at 26, Hebrew University at 55, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya at 69, and Ben Gurion University at 108.
  • High tech exports fell 8% in the first half of 2013 to $3.7 billion, the lowest figure in 3 years according to the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute.  However, when weighted for avionics, electronic components, and pharmaceuticals, high tech exports rose by 5.5% in dollar terms to $10.3 billion.

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