The 20th Biomed Conference will be held in Israel on May 10. Its organizers expect more participation than in previous years. For the local medical industries and health technology, the conference provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Israeli innovation.
Viz.ai, for example, announced on April 7 that it had raised more than $100 million, giving it an estimated value of $1.2 billion. This round of funding was led by two US venture capital funds, Tiger Global and Insight Partners.
Israel Medtech was founded in 2020 to promote Israeli high-tech companies specializing in medical technologies. As such, it has been well integrated into the specific needs created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Yaron Yitzhari, CEO of Medtronics and general manager of the new comprehensive organization, said in an interview just a few months later that the virus was a kind of core training that accelerates the growth of the organization and the entire field.
“We began by restoring the functionality of products that did not work, such as respirators or test equipment. We collaborated with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industry to issue patents for respirators, so that they could be made from available materials. At the same time, we took steps to link the technologies used from By Israeli medical equipment companies, hospitals, health insurance providers and the Ministry of Health,” he said.
During that time, Yitzhari added, Israeli companies have developed some remarkable technologies, including innovations in breathing and treating patients, technologies for diagnosis and communication with patients, diagnostic and monitoring technologies, and even technologies for home care. “Our role was to direct them to hospitals and the Ministry of Health, and help them cooperate with local manufacturers,” he said.
All these preparatory measures have helped companies like Viz.ai to grow and develop. Its technology identifies life-threatening medical conditions while imagining hospital scans. The company’s system communicates with computed tomography equipment, analyzes images through computerized artificial intelligence, and warns of urgent results. Originally, the tech warned against strokes and skull hemorrhages, and last year, it expanded its diagnostic skills to include pulmonary embolism, aortic dissection, and cerebral aneurysm.
Viz.ai’s business model is SaaS (Software as a Service). It sells annual licenses to use its technology to individual hospitals and Medicare networks. The number of employees at Viz.ai has tripled to 140 people in Israel and 350 worldwide, including in a development center in Portugal. The system is already installed in about 1,000 hospitals, most of them in the United States.
“There are more products in development, and a lot of new opportunities to explore,” Viz.ai Vice President of Technology David Golan said on April 7 in an interview with the Israeli press. The idea came when he met a pulmonologist and showed him a suspected case of a stroke on his phone, and “the doctor looked at the picture and said, ‘The patient has cancer in his lungs.'” Patients get such a short time with their doctors. Ten percent of [supposedly healthy] People are walking around with them [a disease] They don’t know about. And you can catch all of these things in time.”
In Israel, Viz.ai has been installed as a beta program at Rambam Hospital in Haifa and Haemek Hospital in Afula. However, this did not continue due to regulatory reasons prohibiting sending patient data to the cloud. But Golan said this has since been rectified. The product can now be used in Israel, and the first hospitals are expected to adopt it soon.
As mentioned above, Israeli medical technology companies are in great demand, and it is intensifying due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021 alone, they managed to raise about $500 million in investments.
According to the Israel Export Institute, about 1,200 Israeli companies operate in the life sciences industry, in medical equipment, biopharmaceuticals, medical computing and services. These companies, she says, are providing technology solutions to the challenges we face internationally, such as more home care, increased early diagnosis and preventive medicine. She says that Israel has become a leading country in digital health system innovations.
The Export Institute told Al-Monitor that several Israeli medical technology companies are already operating in the UAE, a market that could be huge for Israeli high technology and innovation. For example, software company ezMedSoft provides a complete digital patient journey, Healthy.io turns a smartphone camera into a medical device, Pluristem Therapeutics is a clinical-stage regenerative medicine company that uses placenta cells and a 3D technology platform to develop cell therapies, and MediWound is a pharmaceutical company Biology develops novel biotherapy solutions for tissue repair and regeneration. The Export Institute believes that this list is just the beginning of much greater cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states.