OrbiMed’s $307 million Israeli biotech fund highlights a big week for local industry


American-Israeli investment firm OrbiMed is launching a new $307 million venture capital fund focused specifically on 20 Israeli biotech companies. But that’s just the biggest news in a week of marathon news for Israel’s medical technology and startup market.

The announcement, like several others in the past couple days, is likely timed to coincide with the IATI Biomed conference in Tel Aviv being held today through Thursday. Dozens of startups are on hand for the event, several of whom will compete in a pitch competition Wednesday and still others will make their own presentations on different topics. That suggests they want the attention of the room this week, shaking hands with potential investors and clamoring for those funds.

Bloomberg also reported that three Israeli biotech startups might be hitting NASDAQ in the next 12 months, including drug delivery tech company PolyPid and UroGen Pharma.

“Israel is a compelling locus of life sciences innovation, on par with top regions in the U.S. and Europe,” commented Jonathan Silverstein, co-head of OrbiMed’s global private equity effort. “With this fund we will further accelerate our investment pace in Israel and help nurture local innovations into leading healthcare companies.”

For OrbiMed, it’s the second Israel-focused money pool and the second major fund announcement in the last few months. OrbiMed announced a $1 billion fund in January to cover the globe.

“Our new fund builds on OrbiMed’s strong 16-year track record of investing in Israel,” said Dr. Nissim Darvish, a Senior Managing Director of OrbiMed. “With a fund of this size, OrbiMed is well positioned to be a significant partner to entrepreneurs, research institutions, and other industry organizations here in Israel.”

IATI Biomed 2015 Competition winner Medasense raises new cash this week

Without disclosing the details, pain monitoring startup Medasense announced a follow-on investment Monday led by healthtech-happy Baxter Ventures. The investment follows up on an $8 million Series B led by Benslie International in March. CEO and Founder Galit Zuckerman told Geektime in March the idea came to her after hearing stories of her mother’s nursing days about surgical patients waking up from anesthesia in tremendous pain. Medasense won that competition at IATI Biomed 2015.

Medasense seems to be tackling a very niche market in coming up with objective measurements for pain levels. Another firm called Medisize out of the Netherlands appears to be developing a similar product that they call the Med-Storm Pain Monitor. Philadelphia-based startup PainQx is working on something similar.

Other companies scheduled to present include Pluristem Therapeutics, computer vision anti-malaria startup Sight Diagnostics, and ElMindA, as well as several participating in a pitch competition.


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