US-Israel fund to invest $8.2 million in 9 new joint R&D projects

Among the ventures to get BIRD Foundation grants are developers of compostable packaging made of food waste; AI-based clinical network for home-care patients

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

Illustrative image of the American and Israeli flags. (3dmitry; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of the American and Israeli flags. (3dmitry; iStock by Getty Images)

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has approved $8.2 million in funding for nine new joint US-Israeli projects.

The grants will help these firms to get access to additional private sector funding, thus boosting the total value of funding available for all of the projects to approximately $20 million, the foundation said in a statement on Sunday.

The BIRD Foundation promotes collaborations between US and Israeli companies in a variety of technological fields. In addition to providing conditional grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the foundation also works with the selected companies to identify potential strategic partners and make the necessary introductions.

Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The nine projects approved by the BIRD governors are in addition to the 982 projects that the foundation has approved for funding during its 42-year history.

To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint Israeli-US projects is nearly $350 million, helping generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion, the statement said.

The newly approved projects are:

3PLW (Netanya, Israel) and Corumat (Albany, California) will develop high-performance compostable packaging from food waste.

Igentify (Haifa, Israel) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) will develop a genomic data interpretation platform for next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) (Lod, Israel) and Headwall Photonics (Bolton, Massachusetts) will develop a precision agriculture decision support system for large-scale areas utilizing a wide-area hyper-spectral imager and a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

MyndYou (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Cosan Group LLC (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) will develop a clinical network that uses artificial intelligence to optimize in-home care for patients.

Netafim Irrigation (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Onvector LLC (Somerville, Massachustetts) are developing a filter based on pulse electric fields for the advanced disinfection of water for irrigation.

Novelsat (Ra’anana, Israel) and iGolgi (Rocky Hill, New Jersey) will develop encoding-modulation techniques to improve satellite broadcast efficiency for carrying multi-channel audio-video programs over satellite.

Shamaym Social Business (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Karyopharm Therapeutics (Newton, Massachusetts) will develop a checklist platform for drug development and execution.

Snappers (Or Yehuda, Israel) and Turner Studios (Atlanta, Georgia) will develop a crowdsourced video platform.

WizeCare (formerly Video Therapy) (Or Yehuda, Israel) and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland, Ohio) will develop tele-rehabilitation, a monitoring and detection platform for Parkinson disease patients.

“The U.S.-Israel BIRD Foundation continues to invest in projects that represent not only a range of innovative technologies but also is inclusive of companies of all sizes, from both the U.S. and Israel, which are developing solutions with potential impact to the global economy,” said Phillip Singerman, associate director for Innovation and Industry Services at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and co-chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors, in a statement.

The deadline for submission of proposals for the next BIRD cycle is September 5, the statement said, with approval of projects taking place in December 2019.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the projects.

BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The foundation provides funding of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing.

The foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.

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