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Conference to introduce Israeli biomedical technology industry locally

by Roberto Loiederman

November 9, 2011 | 2:06 pm

The American Israeli Medical Association (AIMA), which specializes in bringing together investors, executives, medical doctors and academicians from the United States and Israel, is sponsoring its first BioMedTech Conference at the Skirball Cultural Center on Nov. 15.

Dr. Ben Drillings, AIMA’s founder/director, said one of the aims of the conference, which is expected to attract 300 attendees, is to introduce the Israeli biomedical technology industry to the California business community.

“In Israel, biomedical technology is a booming industry, leading the world in innovation,” Drillings said.

The conference’s keynote speaker is biomedical entrepreneur and philanthropist Alfred E. Mann.

Since the 1950s, Mann has founded 17 companies, including Spectrolab, Heliotek, MiniMed and Advanced Bionics. According to published sources, Mann has a net worth of more than $2 billion and has donated $500 million to institutions involved in biomedical research, including the Technion —Israel Institute of Technology.

Mann-owned biomedical technology enterprises have developed such innovative medical devices as pacemakers, cochlear implants and insulin pumps. At 86, Mann is still going strong as CEO of Valencia-based MannKind Corp., which is developing an innovative method to deal with diabetes.

Mann’s topic at the AIMA conference is something he knows a great deal about: “Creating Medical Device Enterprise.”

Speaking to why investors should consider Israeli biomedical technology companies, Mann said, “The entrepreneurial spirit in Israel is unique and pervasive. Israelis are very educated, innovative and ambitious. Indeed, I am amazed that there is so much going on in Israel.”

“When I talk about Israel,” Mann said, “I often describe the entrepreneurial spirit by saying that, in a small country of 7 million people, there are 10 million entrepreneurs. ... Opportunities for investment are enormous.”

In addition to Mann’s keynote address, the conference will feature a panel discussion, “Biomedical Research and Innovation,” including Dr. Daniella Magen of Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus, a Haifa facility dedicated to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy; Dr. Yael Porat, CEO and founder of BiogenCell Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company that specializes in cell-based therapies for diabetes, heart failure, stroke and other diseases; and professor Shmuel Einav, an expert in vascular bioengineering at Tel Aviv University.

For more information, visit aima4u.com.

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