North England health services seek ventures with Israeli health tech firms

Partnership is ‘latest sign of the deepening innovation links between our two countries,’ says UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey after signing accord

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, left, and  Head of Corporate Affairs for the NHSA Suzanne Ali-Hassan sign the MOU during  MIXiii Biomed 2018 in Tel Aviv; May 16, 2018 ( MIXiii Biomed 2018)
British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, left, and Head of Corporate Affairs for the NHSA Suzanne Ali-Hassan sign the MOU during MIXiii Biomed 2018 in Tel Aviv; May 16, 2018 ( MIXiii Biomed 2018)

A new UK-Israel partnership signed this week in Tel Aviv will help Israeli health technologies gain access to research and patients in the UK.

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), a healthcare partnership across the North of England that unites hospitals, academic science networks and residents, on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with UK Israel Tech Hub to bring Israeli health and medical technology innovations to the North of England.

Head of Corporate Affairs for the NHSA, Suzanne Ali-Hassan, signed the MOU with British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey at the MIXiii Biomed 2018 conference in Tel Aviv.

The accord will support Israeli healthcare companies that set up research and activities in the UK, specifically in the North of England.

A nurse uses a digital health app (Courtesy)

The agreement, said Ali-Hassan “will open up the North of England to innovative and cutting-edge Israeli health technology.”

“There are well over 1,400 life science and healthcare companies in Israel whose innovations have the potential to bring great benefits to the North’s hospitals and patient population.”

The NHSA Ltd. is a partnership set up by universities and NHS Hospital Trusts in the North of England to improve the health of residents in the region, by creating an internationally recognized life science and healthcare system. It links eight universities and eight research-intensive NHS Teaching Trusts with four Academic Health Science Networks, covering a population of over 15 million.

“This is the latest sign of the deepening innovation links between our two countries,” Ambassador Quarrey said at the signing ceremony. “The agreement will further enable British researchers and patients to have access to the latest technology from Israel.”

“We hope,” he added “even more Israeli medical companies will now look to the UK as a destination for their growth.”

Creating Israel-UK partnerships

The UK Israel Tech Hub was set up at the British Embassy Israel in 2011. Its goal is to create partnerships in which British companies gain a global competitive edge via Israeli innovation, and Israeli innovation goes global via the UK. To date, the Hub has contributed to dozens UK-Israel tech partnerships, with an announced deal value of tens of millions of pounds. The Hub focuses on sectors that hold potential for bilateral partnerships, such as retail, insure-tech, cybersecurity, health, mobility, smart cities, education technologies and technologies from the Arab sector.

As part of the accord, the UK Israel Tech Hub will help identify suitable Israeli companies and the NHSA will help them access clinical research in the North of England. The NHSA will also support the companies by helping them build a business case for their technology when entering the UK, paving the way to local health research professionals and other experts to help them develop and validate their technologies within the National Health Service system.

For its part, the UK Israel Tech Hub will support the initiative by helping the Israeli companies access funding to enable them to create partnerships with UK clinical research teams.

As technology meets healthcare and science, Israel, with its 1,487 life science companies and its known prowess in big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, is believed to have the potential to become a global player in the field.

Global healthcare expenditure is forecast to reach $9.5 trillion in 2018, according to World Health Organization data, and tech giants such as Apple Inc., Intel Corp, Facebook and IBM have all started investing in the field, according to New York-based data firm CB Insights.

Attendees of the MIXiii Biomed 2017 conference in Tel Aviv (Courtesy)

Earlier this year, the British Embassy in Israel and British businessman and philanthropist David Dangoor launched the UK Israel Dangoor Health Initiative, a flagship program designed to streamline Israeli innovation in digital health into the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).

Billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of $17 billion cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., has also entered the field, setting up a nonprofit organization that aims to make Israel a global leader on the healthcare map and setting up a venture capital fund to invest in cutting edge healthcare technologies The fund got a $250 million boost from Credit Suisse on Wednesday. In March, the Israeli government approved a National Digital Health plan, which, despite mounting privacy concerns, plans to create a digital database of the medical files of some 9 million residents and make them available to researchers and enterprises.

MIXiii-BIOMED is an international life science conference held in Tel Aviv May 15 to 17, hosting thousands of industry players, scientists and investors both local and from overseas. As part of the event, hundreds of Israeli life science companies are presenting and exhibiting their products, services and technologies in a wide variety of sectors. This year’s conference explores trends including digital health, the use of big data in medicine, medical devices and new approaches to fighting rare genetic diseases.

There are some 1,487 life science companies operating in Israel, which have raised some $13.5 billion in 1997-2017, according to Tel Aviv based IVC Research Center, which tracks Israel’s tech sector.

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