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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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January 17, 2010

Tel Aviv Neurotech Cluster Thrives

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Posted by Zack Lynch

israel_flag-300x240.jpgLast week David Brooks wrote a spot on column about innovation in Tel Aviv, Israel. This is readily apparent in my own analysis of the global neurotechnology industry where Tel Aviv is rapidly becoming an innovation hub for next generation drugs, devices and diagnostics for the brain and nervous systems as I recently described in NIO's Neurotech Clusters 2010 report:

Tel Aviv, Israel is the among the emerging nascent regions worldwide in neurotechnology. It ranks 11th overall (17 total companies; 9 neuropharmaceutical, 7 neurodevice, 14 private, 3 public). Of note, the region features a unique ratio of neurodevice to neuropharma companies; only Minneapolis has a higher percentage of device companies. Device companies in the region include BioLineRX, Brainsway, BrainsGate, NeuroSonix, SteadyMed Ltd., BioControl Medical, Ltd. and CogniFit. Tel Aviv also ranks 14th for capital with 7 risk capital sources, including notable biomedical investors Medica Venture Partners, BME Capital, and Agate Medical Investments.

While difficult to compare the neurotechnology infrastructure of Tel Aviv to most American cities, Israel boasts a strong university system; Nine universities are contained within a small geographic region and include Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Open University of Israel.

Tel Aviv in particular is home to two research institutions with extensive neuroscience research activities; the Weizmann Institute of Science and Tel Aviv University. At the Weizmann Institute of Science, the neurotechnology activities are centered on the Department of Neurobiology and revolve around two major themes: the study of neuronal function at the molecular and cellular levels and the study of the CNS at the system level. Additional focus is placed on developing algorithms for the synaptic plasticity between neurons and studying injury models of nerve lesion including ischemia and stroke. Nearly 20 groups of researchers carry out both independent studies and collaborative research with colleagues from within the department and outside it.

At Tel Aviv University, the recently created Adams Super Center for Brain Studies provides an umbrella for research activity in the neurosciences by encouraging collaboration by faculty members from different disciplines. As an additional piece of the local infrastructure, The Israel Society for Neuroscience (ISFN) is a registered non-profit organization, founded in 1992 by several leading Israeli neuroscientists and now includes over 600 members.

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