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OrbiMed launches $307m fund for Israeli med-tech investments

Partners will be scouting for opportunities at a major medical technology show in Tel Aviv this week

The IATI-Biomed conference and exhibition (Courtesy)
The IATI-Biomed conference and exhibition (Courtesy)

On the eve of a major event highlighting Israel’s accomplishments in the medical technology industry, international healthcare venture capital venture firm OrbiMed announced Monday the closing of its second Israel-focused venture capital fund.

The fund, OrbiMed Israel Partners II, saw subscribers committing approximately $307 million. Investors include several of the world’s largest healthcare companies in addition to dozens of institutional investors and family offices.

OrbiMed is the world’s biggest VC investor dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector, with over $15 billion in assets under management, investing in a wide array of companies through a range of vehicles – private equity funds, public equity funds, royalty/debt funds, and others. The firm started its activities in Israel in 2010, with the establishment of the OrbiMed Israel Partners fund, which closed at $222 million in 2011.

The first fund invested in 28 companies, with its biggest success the exit of its portfolio company eCam Biotherapeutics, which is developing cancer treatments. eCam was acquired by Merck in a deal worth more than $600 million.

“Israel is a compelling locus of life sciences innovation, on par with top regions in the US 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.”

Ruti AlonHow compelling a locus it is was on display in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, as the 15th annual IATI-Biomed Conference got underway.

“All of the big pharma and health tech firms, from Merck to Pfizer to Sanofi, and many more, have R&D centers in Israel, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of start-ups that over the years have come up with unique solutions to some of the most pressing problems in biotech,” according to Ruti Alon, a general partner at Pitango Venture Capital and chairperson of the event. “Many of the patents in pharmaceuticals that are now being used to treat cancer, heart problems, and much more were developed at Israeli institutions like Hebrew University or the Weizmann Institute.”

Dozens of those international firms, as well as over 100 start-ups in the biomed and biotech space, were showing off their wares at the conference.

Previous Biomed conferences have hosted over 6,000 industry senior executives, scientists, and engineers, including approximately 1,000 participants from over 45 countries and in excess of 4,500 one-on-one meetings, and IATA, the umbrella group of the Israeli high-tech industry, is expecting no less this year.

Speakers include executives and experts from companies like Roche, Pfizer, IBM, Sanofi, Novartis, Mayo Clinic Ventures, Bristol Myers, and many more, who over the week will discuss issues like biotherapeutics, oncology, cardiology, pharmaceutical development, and government approval and compliance.

“Participants will be able to enjoy roundtable discussions, panel presentations, networking opportunities and product demonstrations, exploring innovation and trends that are shaping the future of healthcare systems and the life science ecosystem,” said Alon.

Orbimed will be there too, looking for opportunities to invest drawn from its new fund, said Dr. Nissim Darvish, a senior managing director of OrbiMed. “Our new fund builds on OrbiMed’s strong 16-year track record of investing in Israel. 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.”

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