Chief Scientist picks year’s best start-ups

Two of the three companies chosen are in the medical device business, while the third is an environmental technology company

Trendlines CEO D. Todd Dollinger (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Trendlines CEO D. Todd Dollinger (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The Chief Scientist’s Office has chosen three Israeli start-ups — Cartiheal, Sol Chip, and ApiFix — as the best incubator graduates of 2013.

The graduates were awarded the title by the Chief Scientist’s Technological Incubators Program, which also chose Tel Aviv’s TheTime as the country’s best incubator.

The awards were given last week for the quality of each company’s offerings and their commercial potential, as well as for the manner in which they progressed from early stage start-up to becoming ready for the market.

Two of the companies – ApiFix and Sol-Chip – respectively belong to the Misgav Venture Incubator and the Mofet Venture Incubator, both operated by venture capital firm The Trendlines Group. This is the second year in a row a Misgav company has taken one of the top titles; in 2012, another incubator graduate, Stimatix GI, received the Chief Scientist’s top start-up award.

ApiFix, founded by Uri Arnin in 2010, has developed a minimally invasive treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). The ratchet-based system is implanted during a 45-minute procedure through a small incision, eliminating the 20″ incision, steel rods, and numerous screws used in today’s 6-hour operations. Already in use in Europe, the ApiFix device has received rave reviews, Trendlines’s D. Todd Dollinger said.

Sol Chip, co-founded by Shani Keysar and Rami Friedlander, has a technology that allows manufacturers to integrate solar power into computer chips. The system allows for the development of chips and sensors that will essentially be self-powering, using constantly renewing solar power without the need to change batteries every few months. The company is marketing its technology in the agricultural sector, with the company already running several successful projects with Netafim, which is using Sol-Chip’s technology in automatic sprinkler and irrigation systems for commercial crops.

Earlier this year, Sol Chip won the Technological Development Award at IDTechEx 2013 in Berlin, Germany. And it was named one of the “Silicon 60: Hot startups to watch” by EE Times, Dollinger said.

“Of course, we are so proud of ApiFix and Sol Chip for receiving this honor,” said Dollinger. “Above and beyond the recognition the companies deserve, you can imagine the great joy and pride we feel that two of our portfolio companies have won this award this year — one from each of our incubators. It only confirms our mission and our method. “

CartiHeal has developed a technology for regenerating hyaline cartilage (cartilage found in the weight bearing joints such as the knee, hip, and shoulder). Cartilage injury affects over 35 million people in the US alone, and represents a major unmet need, as hyaline cartilage has very limited ability for self-repair, and cannot on its own heal after an injury. Cartilage injuries often cause severe pain and dysfunction, while research shows that injuries to cartilage in the joints, if left untreated,can lead to progressive joint changes and early onset of osteoarthritis.

CartiHeal’s the Agili-C implant is designed to regenerate cartilage and bone in body joints. The implant’s structure, comprising a coral scaffold with biological modifications, causes the implant to biodegrade, and promotes the regeneration of true hyaline cartilage in its place, the company said.

“It is a great privilege to receive this award,” said Nir Altschuler, CartiHeal’s founder and CEO. “We are honored that the distinguished committee recognized the significance of CartiHeal’s scientific, technological, clinical and business achievements. We are eager to begin commercial activity with Agili-C, in parallel to our continuous efforts to develop our strong pipeline of products for other indications.”

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