Israel Prize awarded to Hebrew University Professor Dani Zamir for his agricultural research

      The Israel Prize for agricultural research and environmental science is being awarded to Prof. Dani Zamir, the Education Ministry announced Sunday. Zamir is professor emeritus in genetics at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at Hebrew University.

      Zamir’s fields of research deal with improving plants and developing innovative tools for genetic cultivation. For example, he developed a group of cultured tomatoes that contain a DNA string from species of wild tomatoes that make them resistant to dryness, salt and various diseases.

      Twenty years ago he founded the company AB Seeds, which together with the university’s Yissum technology transfer company developed one of the leading species of tomatoes grown in California. Ten years ago, he and his student, Yaniv Semel, set up a company that applies computational methods to genetic cultivation. Zamir has won numerous research grants, including a particularly prestigious grant from the European Research Council

      Read the entire source article at Haaretz


      Commentary: A Huge Leap for Microscopic Health Treatments

      WHEN CLEVELAND CLINIC first entered discussions with Hebrew University about a collaboration in nanoscience in 2016, I must admit I did not have extremely high expectations.

      Although I was well aware of the University’s excellent reputation, I was mindful of the long distance between the institutions, which typically doesn’t lend well to fruitful partnerships.

      The task we faced was daunting: Combining forces, nearly 6,000 miles apart, to create and commercialize new therapies, technologies and drug-delivery systems. Using particles too small for the naked eye to see, our goal was to utilize molecular-level engineering to target medications to attack illnesses ranging from cancer and cardiovascular disease to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. No small order.

      The Cleveland Clinic’s Biomedical Engineering Department at the time had a group of engineers and scientists working on a few key projects, but their portfolio expanded dramatically once they were introduced to counterparts at Hebrew University.

      Together with Hadassah, the university operates one of the leading hospitals in Israel, and its researchers have won worldwide acclaim, including eight Nobel Prizes. Albert Einstein was a supporter at its founding a century ago. They have been hugely successful in bringing nanotechnologies to the global market.

      That’s why Victor Cohn, a Cleveland philanthropist who supports both institutions, brought us to the table to explore what we could accomplish together. He returned from a trip to Israel with a vision to form a global nanotechnology initiative to help patients around the world. The marriage of these two nanotechnology programs form what is now known as the Center for Transformative Nanomedicine.

      While the Cleveland Clinic has a rich history of healthcare innovations, at the time we were relatively young in the field of nanomedicine.

      Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer arm, has a team-based approach to commercialization that assists the technology inventors each step along the sometimes-long timeline from discovery through licensing. Their approach has resulted in dozens of start-up companies, and their products generate billions of dollars annually. One of their most famous successes was the chemotherapy drug Doxil, which was invented by HUJI professor Chezy Barenholz and has prolonged the lives of millions of patients.

      So despite my initial skepticism about logistics, I was truly amazed by the Hebrew University team’s willingness to collaborate and their commitment to making the partnership work—taking frequent late night calls, visiting Cleveland, and graciously hosting my team in Israel.

      The research conducted by the Center for Transformative Nanomedicine has resulted in potential treatments including: loading nanoparticles with chemotherapy drugs to deliver them to precise tumor targets, reducing collateral damage to healthy tissues; destroying amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients using nanoparticle-enhanced drug delivery; using nanoparticles to deliver various drug combinations to miniature, personalized brain tumors to determine best treatments for individual patients; designing tiny pressure sensors that simulate healthy kidney function for patients with end-stage renal disease, potentially replacing the need for dialysis; and encapsulating drugs with nanoparticles so they do not degrade in the body, improving precision of dosages.

      We see that real partnerships and relationships are built in person, and everyone involved felt very strongly that we needed to visit each other often in order to be successful. The Hebrew University team was on board from day one.

      I am most proud that we’ve been able to raise a great deal of philanthropic support—approximately $6 million to date—and have been able to generously fund five promising projects at $600,000 each. That is a significant amount of start-up funding for an early-stage research project to get off the ground.

      The initial two funded projects have done exceptionally well; the teams are currently preparing to apply for follow-on funding and to file for intellectual property.

      Cleveland Clinic wants to leverage Yissum’s expertise to get its promising projects out of the laboratory and into patient care. In exchange, we offer Hebrew University researchers unprecedented access to valuable, anonomized healthcare data from our diverse and complex pool of patients and clinical trial participants.

      These two institutions share common goals: to improve human health across the globe and to increase international exchange of ideas and academic opportunities.

      While it remains to be seen if this partnership will truly “transform nanomedicine” as its name suggests, it is certain to boost worldwide innovation in nanotechnology research and discovery.

      Geoffrey Vince will discuss biotech innovation and the quest to cure at Hebrew University’sNEXUS:ISRAEL conference May 6 in New York City.

      Corrected on May 1, 2019: This article has been updated to correct the name of philanthropist Victor Cohn and of the Center for Transformative Nanomedicine.

      Read the source article at


      Hebrew University hosts cannabis conference to forge way forward

      Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, hosted a Wednesday conference aiming to boost cooperation between industry and academia for a variety of cannabis-related research and development.

      Hebrew University is one of the leading academic institutions globally with expertise in cannabis-related research and patents. The university’s Prof. Raphael Mechoulam kickstarted the field in 1964 when he discovered tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

      The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research set up by the university supports over 30 labs dedicated to cannabis tech, covering related agricultural technologies, formulation and manufacturing methods, novel therapeutics and combination treatments.

      The one-day conference held Wednesday brings Hebrew University researchers and industry professionals together to focus on furthering cannabis research for future commercialization. By some estimates, the global cannabis market is thought to be worth $150 billion with predicted growth reaching $272 billion by 2028 and legal worldwide spending hitting $70 billion, the university said in a statement.

      Yaron Daniely, president and CEO of Yissum, the technology transfer institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Courtesy)

      The idea of the conference is to have a “face-to-face discussion between industry players, entrepreneurs and faculty members as to where we are today and how we can go forward, and also to create collaborations,” Yaron Daniely, the CEO and president of Yissum, said in a phone interview ahead of the conference.

      In 2018, the university struck 25 licensing agreements or research collaborations related to cannabis, he said, with such agreements accounting for 10% of Yissum’s total licensing volume, he said. “The field has grown dramatically.”

      In March, Weed Inc. announced a multi-million dollar licensing agreement with Yissum based on the research results of Hebrew University’s Prof. Elka Touitou.

      The focus of the cannabis industry going forward will likely be in a number of areas, Daniely said in the interview. For medical use, research will focus on pinpointing which extracts of the cannabis leaf can be used to treat which conditions; it will also study what formulations of the weed are best suited to treat various diseases, whether in cream form or in drops, and focus on better understanding the endocannabinoid system, the neurotransmitters in our bodies that have the ability to bind and react to components in the cannabis plant.

      The aim is to understand what role the endocannabinoid system plays in a variety of diseases, and how cannabis “can be combined with other drugs to either enhance their efficacy and or decrease the side effects of these drugs, allowing more appropriate and continuous use of these drugs,” Daniely said.

      “The endocannabinoid system is a very important bodily system and we believe that the use of agents that work with the endocannabinoid system can potentially help existing drugs work better and also reduce some of the side effects,” he said. “This is something we are very excited about and seeing a lot of interest as well.”

      During the event, Yissum will honor Professor Mechoulam for his achievements in advancing collaboration between academia and the medical cannabis industry.

      Itzik Ozer, director of business development for the Jerusalem Development Authority, said in the statement that the authority sees cannabis as an industry with “huge potential” for creating jobs and attracting Israeli and international companies to the city. Biotech companies and new cannabis companies setting up operations in Jerusalem will be entitled to entry grants of NIS 100,000 ($28,000) for each employee and up to NIS 4 million for the company.

      Read the source article at The Times of Israel


      Scientists Design Decoys to Fight Cancer

      In recent years, it’s become clear that RNA-binding proteins play a major role in cancer growth. These proteins, active in all cells but especially so in cancer cells, bind to RNA molecules and accelerate cancer cell growth. Unfortunately, no cancer treatment has targeted these proteins. Until now.

      In the upcoming issue of Nature Communications, Professor Rotem Karni and his team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) present a new technology to fight cancer. They designed decoy molecules that trick RNA-binding proteins into binding with them. Once bound, these RNA-binding proteins are no longer able to bind with the natural RNA molecules in cancer cells and lose their cancer-promoting activity. These “sterile” RNA molecule decoys are called oligonucleotides.

      “Our technology is a new approach in the war on cancer. By understanding the biological function of RNA-binding proteins we successfully designed decoy molecules that inhibit these proteins and move us ever closer to creating an anti-cancer drug,” shared Professor Karni.

      Professor Karni and his HU Institute for Medical Research team, led by Ph.D. student Polina Cohen-Denichenko, developed several decoy molecules that inhibit the RNA-binding proteins that speed-up brain and breast cancer growth. To test the decoys, they treated brain cancer cells with decoy molecules. When the cells were then injected into healthy biological models, the cancer cells did not replicate and, soon after, the tumors died off.

      Though this study tested the efficacy of decoy molecules on breast and brain cancer cells, Karni explained that his technology enables scientists to tailor-make decoys for other types of cancer, thereby streamlining and improving treatment for cancer patients. “We still need to examine the toxicity of the decoy molecules and to test their efficacy before we can move on to humans,” cautioned Karni. “However, I’m optimistic, given that we’ve already succeeded at creating decoy oligonucleotides that inhibit RNA binding proteins in other kinds of cancers.”

      To date, a patent describing this technology has been registered in the United States and Europe by Yissum, Hebrew University’s R&D company.



      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Joins U of I-Led Research Center

      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a globally recognized leader in education and innovation, signed an agreement Wednesday to partner in a new research institute led by the University of Illinois System that will foster broad-based collaboration to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

      The Hebrew University, which produces a third of Israel’s civilian research, will bring unique expertise to the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in three vital areas – entrepreneurship, food and agriculture, and computing, including big data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

      DPI, a purpose-driven, collaborative research center led by the U of I System in downtown Chicago, will be home to thousands of students and more than 100 top researchers. They will work with academic, business and tech partners around the world on breakthrough discovery to drive economic growth and prosperity in Chicago, the state of Illinois and beyond.

      The Hebrew University, which has eight Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni, joins prestigious academic partners at DPI that also include Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Tel Aviv University, and Ramaiah Medical College in India.

      “The Hebrew University is a global powerhouse in education, innovation, and entrepreneurship and is a perfect partner to help DPI achieve its ambitious mission to fuel massive new waves of breakthrough discovery and drive a new era of economic growth and social progress,” said Tim Killeen, president of the U of I System. “They bring world-class talent to the table in the very disciplines that will be the core of DPI’s focus – technology, health sciences, and agriculture.”

      Hebrew University President, Professor Asher Cohen said the collaborations will lead to new discoveries, startup ventures and products that will advance global economic growth.
      “The Hebrew University and the University of Illinois System are both committed to innovation and entrepreneurship,” Cohen said. “We are proud to become an international partner of the Discovery Partners Institute, a visionary center designed to address global challenges.”

      Under the agreement signed Wednesday by officials from both universities, research and instructional space will be created within DPI for Hebrew University faculty and students, as well as for joint research and educational programs. Faculty and students also will collaborate from the university’s six campuses in Israel via a broad range of state-of-the-art telepresence technologies.
      The Hebrew University is Israel’s top-ranked academic and research institution, and among the top 100 worldwide. Serving more than 23,000 students from 80 countries, it ranks 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development.

      Yissum, the technology transfer company for the Hebrew University, has registered more than 10,000 patents covering nearly 3,000 inventions and will play an important role in DPI’s efforts to spin innovation into businesses and jobs. The transfer company’s achievements include a medication effective in treating mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and technology that gives motorists warnings for collision prevention. The university also is actively establishing international strategic partnerships throughout the United States and other countries. More international centers of cooperation will be announced in the near future.

      DPI currently operates in offices at 200 S. Wacker Drive in Chicago. A permanent facility will be developed on a donated site along the Chicago River, bringing together top faculty in agriculture, healthcare, computing and data, the environment and other critical fields.

      The institute also will be the centerpiece of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), a virtually connected statewide enterprise of university and business partners that will use education and research initiatives to launch new companies, strengthen the workforce and lift communities.

      Last spring, the Illinois General Assembly approved $500 million in state capital funding to launch DPI and IIN.


      Yissum Expands Global Reach

      Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, announced the opening of three centers of international cooperation in Chicago (United States), Asunción (Paraguay), and Shenzhen (China), to facilitate regional commercialization of cutting-edge technologies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. These centers will enable the local adaptation of technologies to their respective markets, and foster multiple collaboration models between Hebrew University researchers and local industries.

      In Chicago, Yissum will participate in the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago – a joint education, research, and innovation institute led by the University of Illinois System, its three universities and other partners. At DPI, Yissum will play an essential role in a broad-scope agreement between the Hebrew University and the University of Illinois system to enhance applied innovation through academic and industry collaboration, with the initial focus on entrepreneurship, biosciences, computer science including AI, big data and cybersecurity, as well as food and Ag technologies.

      The new centers in Paraguay and China plan to advance technologies from Yissum’s diverse portfolio of research projects and technologies throughout their respective regions.  In Paraguay, Yissum has partnered with HC Innovations to foster innovation and commercialization activities throughout South America. HC Innovations is a new venture within Grupo Cartes, a business conglomerate controlled by Horacio Cartes. In China, Yissum has partnered with the China Israel Innovation Center LTD., affiliated with Tsinghua University in Shenzhen.

      “With these new international centers of innovation and commercialization, Yissum is taking proactive steps to adapt early-stage technologies and companies to local markets abroad,” said Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO and President of Yissum. “Yissum is focused on bringing the best of Hebrew University innovation to the global markets where they are most needed and valued.  We are working with local partners and investors to recognize specific regional and national needs so that we ensure successful commercialization.”

      More international centers of cooperation are expected to open in the future.


      HU’s Unique Multidisciplinary Approach is Key to its Success

      By Diane Hess

      For over 100 years, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) has been a trailblazer in multidisciplinary education, encouraging student and faculty collaboration in various fields of study.

      Today, more than ever, it is seeing the fruits of its multidisciplinary focus, which has been formalized in course offerings and programs. In 2018, approximately 65% of the innovations recorded to HU’s technology transfer company, Yissum, stemmed from partnerships between academic faculties—such as medicine and engineering, or agriculture and science.

      “I think this is an important validator for the hypothesis that the multidisciplinary approach has impacted successes coming out of the university,” said Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO and President of Yissum. “I believe that number is very high compared to other institutions globally.”

      In the fall of 2018, the Hebrew University announced that entrepreneurship—a hallmark of the Israeli economy and, more broadly, its culture—will be a required class for all students, even those majoring in linguistics or philosophy.

      Avner Mendelson, President & CEO of Bank Leumi USA and an HU alumnus, believes in this ethos of multidisciplinary entrepreneurship. “From a real-world corporate and banking perspective, we really see that cross-disciplinary collaboration is key for so many of the Israeli innovators taking their next step in the U.S. market. As a financial institution, Bank Leumi is keenly focused on emerging technologies and supporting commercial ventures in all phases of growth—from addressing the unique needs of start-ups and supporting companies through growth phases, to structuring financial models that help our clients sustain success,” he said.  “I strongly believe that the entrepreneurial foundations that HU provides its students equip these future leaders with a practical understanding of how to translate ideas into commercially viable innovations.”

      The Hebrew University offers many curricular opportunities for cross-pollination. One of its initiatives, the BioDesign Center, takes a collective tact to medical innovation. Created by the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center, in conjunction with Stanford University, it provides teams of medical fellows, bioengineering, and business graduate students the structure to collaborate and commercialize solutions to medical problems.

      “These students are the best physicists, chemists, and medical students, and many will be interested in forming a company,” said Dr. Zvi Wiener, dean of the Jerusalem School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University. “BioDesign gives them an opportunity to learn how to start a business, raise money from investors, and hire employees.”

      Dr. Wiener highlights commercial successes of the program, including ThoraXS, a one-handed thoracic portal opener that shortens the time required to insert a tube into a patient’s chest from minutes to less than 30 seconds. The technology has been effective in preventing deaths from chest trauma. It was developed by engineering and business students from Hebrew University, along with an internal medicine specialist and pulmonologist from Hadassah Medical Center.

      “One of the goals of the business school is to make students more hirable,” said Dr. Wiener. “If they have been involved in an attempt to develop a new product, they are much more valuable.”

      Last month the business school launched a FinTech Center to help students bring machine learning and data analytics technologies to the marketplace. The center offers a mentoring program for computer scientists with experienced entrepreneurs and academics.

      “From an industry perspective, multidisciplinary innovations are largely more valuable and attractive than single-disciplinary or classical inventions,” said Dr. Daniely. “A technology that combines healthcare with data science, or agriculture with engineering, or machine learning with nanotechnology, is highly sought after in the marketplace.”

      One of Yissum’s companies, Future Meat, received a $2.2 million investment in May from Tyson Foods to develop lab-grown meat. Dr. Yaakov Nahmias, a bioengineering professor and the founder of the company, developed a cost-effective way to grow meat from animal cells in a lab. When he began his research, lab-grown meat cost about $5,000 to produce. He lowered the price to $400 per pound and expects to reduce it further.

      “By looking at a problem in life sciences from an engineering standpoint, Dr. Nahmias essentially created a multidisciplinary innovation,” said Dr. Daniely. “He applied his skills in one area to a completely different domain; it’s a novel approach.”

      Grail, a healthcare company focused on the early detection of cancer, brought together professors from HU’s computer science and engineering department, as well as doctors from Hadassah Medical Center. The company, which has teamed up with Yissum, is creating a method for doctors to screen patients with a simple blood test for abnormal tissue or cell death.

      Dr. Shlomo Magdassi, a chemistry professor at the Hebrew University for over 30 years, has lent his expertise in colloids, a type of chemical mixture, and nanoparticles to a host of innovations. He has worked with physicists, biologists, and mechanical engineers on several technologies. Among them, Dr. Magdassi has created solar panels in California using coatings that contain nanoparticles, printed medication that can be customized for individual patients, glass printing technology—he even developed technology to print logos on coffee and cappuccino.

      Dr. Shlomo Magdassi

      For the past 18 months, Dr. Magdassi has been working with Dr. Oded Shoseyov, a nanotechnology professor at HU who is currently focusing on the molecular biology of plants. With funding from Yissum, their lab results, using waste from wood material, have been successful and they’re now investigating commercial applications.

      “It’s impossible to be masters in everything we do, and we know that we must collaborate,” said Dr. Magdassi. “It’s the spirit of the Hebrew University.”


      Hebrew University to Collaborate With KYORIN

      Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and KYORIN Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), a subsidiary of KYORIN Holdings, Inc., which is engaged in the development and commercialization of prescription drugs, announced today a strategic collaboration in the discovery of respiratory drug therapies. Under the collaboration, KYORIN will sponsor a research program led by Prof. Francesca Levi-Schaffer of Hebrew University’s Institute of Drug Research in the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and advance its own drug discovery research with the outcome from the program.

      Prof. Levi-Schaffer specializes in the area of immunopharmacology for allergies. Her research focuses on mast cells and eosinophils, the main effector cells in allergic diseases such as asthma and atopic dermatitis. KYORIN focuses on R&D and commercialization of prescription drugs, and respiratory field is positioned as one of its franchises. In the new partnership, KYORIN and Prof. Levi-Schaffer will collaborate and screen for new drugs based on her expertise of allergic inflammation. As such, new potential targets for the suppression of asthma and other related indications will be identified. medici

      For KYORIN, this international network with academic collaboration in research is significant and this opportunity to form cooperative research relationships for first-in- class drugs on various respiratory diseases will enhance our research capabilities for drug seeds discovery.

      About KYORIN

      Trusted among patients and professionals in the medical industry, KYORIN strives to be a company that contributes to the public health and is recognized as a one with social significance by improving its presence in specified therapeutic areas and through global discovery of novel drugs.  KYORIN uses its sales and marketing strategy in focusing on respiratory, otolaryngology and urology, and concentrates resources on the innovative drug discovery activities in its own research, with supplementing and strengthening external drug discovery programs and technology platforms from academic institutions, venture start-ups, and domestic and international drug discovery companies, as open innovation partnership. For further information please visit

      About Yissum

      Yissum is the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is the third company of its kind to be established and serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. Yissum’s mission is to benefit society by converting extraordinary innovations and transformational technologies into commercial solutions that address our most urgent global challenges.  Yissum has registered over 10,000 patents covering 2,800 inventions; licensed over 900 technologies and has spun out more than 135 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Boston Scientific, Google, ICL, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Microsoft, Novartis and many more. For further information please visit

      Read the source article at PR Newswire


      Can Jerusalem be turned into a high-tech hub?

      From Jewish Telegraphic Agency

      Tech is a rare bright spot in the city’s economy. Aside from Mobileye, other recent Jerusalem success stories include Lightricks, a wildly popular maker of photo and video apps that has attracted some $10 million in venture capital funding; Hometalk, the biggest online platform for home and garden DIY; and Orcam Technologies, a $1 billion company started by Mobileye’s founders that makes devices to assist the visually impaired.

      Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s institutes of higher education are trying to lay the groundwork for the next generation of innovation.

      In early November, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and the Azrieli College of Engineering were jointly awarded a $5.4 million grant from Israel’s Council of Higher Education to establish an entrepreneurship and innovation center. The project will triple the size of Hebrew University’s current high-tech campus at Givat Ram, in central Jerusalem, and greatly expand programming there.

      The Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, Yissum, is also seeking closer collaboration between academia and industry, including allowing companies to issue funded challenges to researchers.


      Read the full article at Jewish Telegraphic Agency


      Big Boost for Jerusalem

      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), along with the Bezalel Academy of Design and Azrieli College of Engineering, received a 20 million NIS ($5.4 million USD) grant from Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE) to establish an entrepreneurship and innovation center in downtown Jerusalem. This consortium, united under the name “JLM-Impact Consortium”, won first place for CHE’s request for proposals to boost entrepreneurial activity among the city’s students and academic community.

      Yishai Fraenkel, HU VP and Director General: “We’re delighted to win this award—a feat accomplished through close teamwork with Bezalel and Azrieli.   We plan to make our mark on this city by instilling a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Every student and professor is a potential entrepreneur.”

      Dr. Amnon Dekel, Head of Hebrew University’s HU Innovate: “We are deeply honored by the decision of Israel’s Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee.  This grant will significantly strengthen the JLM-Impact Consortium’s ability to infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into the daily life of our students and researchers, and to transform them into entrepreneurs who design meaningful and sustainable projects for the city.”

      Professor Raza Azhari, President of Azrieli College of Engineering: “This consortium will serve as a platform to advance Jerusalem’s diverse populations and will contribute to the social and economic growth of our city.”

      Dr. Yuval Karniel, Rector of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design: “Bezalel is proud of this award and proud to be partners with Jerusalem’s leading institutions to bring about real change in the entrepreneurial culture in Jerusalem and in Israeli society, as a whole.  The combination of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship holds great potential for the growth and prosperity of Jerusalem and Israeli society.”

      Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO & President of Yissum: “This major accomplishment for the Hebrew University adds to a record of national leadership in technology commercialization and new company creation by the University and Yissum.  Yissum is looking forward to playing a critical role in enabling stronger and broader entrepreneurial activities across the campuses.”


      Yissum Launches First-of-its Kind Express Licensing Campaign to Increase Academic and Industry Collaboration

      Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, launched its pioneering Express Licensing Campaign at the ITTN’s 5th biennial conference: Tech Transfer 4.O: Reinventing Technology Transfer. Yissum CEO and President Dr. Yaron Daniely introduced the campaign which aims to make the cutting-edge research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem more accessible to industry partners by dramatically simplifying technology licensing or acquisition.

      Yissum currently dominates academic tech transfer in Israel, and in 2017 was responsible for nearly half of all tech transfer licensing agreements signed by universities as well as new company formations. The Express Licensing Campaign is yet another channel initiated by Yissum to broaden industry reach into Intellectual Property (IP) born out of translational academic research, by offering close to 70 technologies alongside ready-to-sign license contracts, drafted in collaboration with several leading law firms in Israel.

      Dr. Daniely explained that with the Express Licensing Campaign, Yissum aims to create more transparency and clarity in the tech transfer process, making it easier for industry and entrepreneurs to identify and pursue groundbreaking innovations. “Yissum’s position as a leader in technology transfer is because we believe in taking concrete steps to ensure lower barriers to commercialization in order to make academic technology available to the community,” said Daniely.  “The new express licensing campaign is one example of this plan.  We are taking 20% of the available IP estate and making it easily accessible and available for partnering. This is a groundbreaking path to enhance industry collaboration, entrepreneurship, and venture creation.”

      Israel is a global leader in tech transfer, second only to the United States in the amount of IP revenue it generates, mainly because of the academia’s extensive experience and capabilities in inventing new technologies and powering new markets and industries. A recent ranking of Reuters World’s Most Innovative Universities, which identifies the top 100 international universities that excel at original research, create useful technologies, and contribute to the world’s economy put Hebrew University at #79 worldwide and first in the Middle East.

      “We want to move fast and build things,” said Daniely, “And to do so, we are using all the tools at our disposal – patents, licensing, express licensing, venture funds, accelerators and education – to serve as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry organizations in need of innovative solutions and products.”

      Yissum recently launched a new website making it easier to find not only hundreds of technologies available for licensing, but also to search for close to 1000 experts and researchers across a wide variety of disciplines, as well as dozens of University spinouts currently seeking investments. Yissum is currently the only known tech transfer organization to organize its website around know-how and expertise, and in doing so, is significantly expanding its meaningful offerings to industry by paving the way for more partnerships and collaborative deals based on skills and knowledge.

      Yissum also recently launched its 3rd seed fund, focused on venture creation from the top nanotech research innovations from Hebrew University.  More than 20 startups were established by Yissum’s funds over the last five years.

      About Yissum

      Yissum is the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is the third company of its kind to be established and serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. Yissum’s mission is to benefit society by converting extraordinary innovations and transformational technologies into commercial solutions that address our most urgent global challenges.  Yissum has registered over 10,000 patents covering 2,800 inventions; licensed over 900 technologies and has spun out more than 135 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Boston Scientific, Google, ICL, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Microsoft, Novartis and many more. For further information please visit

      Contact: Estee Yaari / Yissum / [email protected]

      SOURCE Yissum

      Related Links

      Read the source article at PR Newswire


      Elevating Safety

      By Diane Hess

      Technology being developed in collaboration with Hebrew University scientists may prevent deaths in elevators during fire rescue operations. By creating a new fire-resistant space, the technology would allow individuals to survive fatal temperatures, carbon monoxide poisoning, and hazardous toxic materials.

      Seventeen years after 9/11, Israeli startup Salamandra Zone is testing a groundbreaking technology developed in collaboration with HU scientists that may prevent deaths in elevators during fire rescue operations. It’s product, the B-Air system, is used to convert an elevator cab into a shelter that allows people to survive fatally hot temperatures, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other hazardous toxins.

      “Our challenge was to improve the safety of buildings around the world,” said Marat Maayan, a former HU student and CEO of Salamandra Zone. “We found a solution.”

      Until now, elevators are shut down during fire evacuations because they fill up with smoke and poisonous gases. These same toxins also overwhelm stairwells, making them just as dangerous for people trying to evacuate.  With Salamandra Zone’s B-Air, an elevator could operate as a safe room.

      Hebrew University chemists Professor Yoel Sasson and Dr. Uri Stoin have been in charge of Salamandra Zone’s R&D effort, and the company partnered with Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, to commercialize this technology. B-Air is expected to hit the market in 18 months. The technology could benefit about 1.5 million buildings worldwide, and the United States is expected to be an early adopter of the technology. Each unit would cost about $10,000.


      Making it Big by Going Small

      By Diane Hess

      This month, Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, launched a new fund to invest in elite nanotech research on campus. The “NanoTech Fund,” announced at the Nano IL 2018 conference in Jerusalem, secured $6 million from top international strategic and institutional investors and will raise up to $9 million.

      Investments will focus on 3D-printing, quantum science, and renewable energy. The fund has committed preliminarily to three technologies—3D wood printing, a diamond-based handheld MRI, and metal-free solar cell displays.

      “Yissum’s NanoTech Fund is uniquely positioned to invest in the most innovative smart-material technologies created by Hebrew University researchers,” said Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO of Yissum. “Drawing on the experiences and successes of our other two funds focused on healthcare and food technology, this fund will leverage core strengths of the Hebrew University for the benefit of its investors and, most importantly, the world.”

      The NanoTech Fund is the third seed fund established by Yissum in the last six years, with more than $50 million raised in total. The other funds include Integra Holdings, a biotech portfolio founded in 2012, and Agrinnovation, a fund founded in 2015 that focuses on agricultural and food innovations originating from the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

      According to Yissum, the Nanotech Fund ensures ongoing leadership in the nanotech field by Hebrew University researchers, including Professor Uri Banin (Qlight founder, acquired by Merck), Professor Shlomo Magdassi (DipTech, acquired by Ferro, and Nano Dimension (TLV: NNDM)) and Professor Oded Shoseyov (Valentis Nanotech, Collplant, (NASDAQ: CLGN), and SP NANO Ltd).



      Yissum Launches NanoTech Fund

      JERUSALEMOct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Yissum, The Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced today the launch of its new NanoTech Fund which will focus exclusively on promising innovations emerging from Hebrew University’s elite nanotech research. The Fund has already secured $6M from top international strategic and institutional investors, and will raise up to $9M.

      The NanoTech Fund will focus on smart materials and nanotechnologies, funding deep technologies offering integrated solutions in the areas of 3D printing, quantum science, and renewable energy. As the global nanomaterials and nanotech markets continue to grow, the fund will ensure the continued leadership of Hebrew University researchers such as Prof. Uri Banin (Qlight founder, acquired by Merck), Prof. Shlomo Magdassi (serial entrepreneur including DipTech acquired by Ferro, and Nano Dimension (TLV: NNDM)) and Prof. Oded Shoseyov (serial entrepreneur including Valentis Nanotech, Collplant, (NASDAQ: CLGN), and SP NANO Ltd) in nanotech research with significant commercial potential.

      “Yissum’s NanoTech fund is uniquely positioned to invest in the most innovative smart materials technologies created by Hebrew University researchers,” said Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO and President of Yissum. “Drawing on the experiences and successes of our other two funds focused on healthcare and foodtech, this fund will leverage core strengths of Hebrew University for the benefit of its investors and, most importantly, the world.” The fund has already made preliminary investments in three technologies including 3D printing of wood, a diamond-based hand-held MRI, and metal-free display in solar cells.

      Yissum’s NanoTech fund is the third investment vehicle created by Yissum in the last six years, with more than $50M raised by these funds to date. It joins Integra Holdings, founded in 2012, focused on Hebrew University biotech technologies including therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics, and Agrinnovation, founded in 2015, focused on agricultural and food innovations originating from The Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food and Environment.

      The NanoTech fund is launching as the Nano IL 2018 international conference is underway in Jerusalem.  With over 800 participants from around the world, the three-day event is the leading international nanotechnology conference in Israel and is taking place in cooperation with the nanotechnology centers at Hebrew University and other Israeli universities.

      About Yissum
      Yissum is the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is the third company of its kind to be established and serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. Yissum’s mission is to benefit society by converting extraordinary innovations and transformational technologies into commercial solutions that address our most urgent global challenges.  Yissum has registered over 10,000 patents covering 2,800 inventions; licensed over 900 technologies and has spun out more than 135 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Boston Scientific, Google, ICL, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Microsoft, Novartis and many more. For further information please visit

      Read the source article at PR Newswire


      At Hebrew University, all students will study entrepreneurship

      In Israel, which boasts the greatest number of startups per capita in the world, and sports the nickname Startup Nation, entrepreneurship courses have been sprouting at universities and colleges throughout the country to meet a grassroots demand. These programs aim to arm students with much needed theory along with a toolbox of mentorships, networking and tips on how best to approach investors for funding.

      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, however, now wants to make entrepreneurship part of the staple diet of all of its students — including historians, engineers and philosophers.

      “Our vision is that each and every student, from semester one in year one, will learn something about innovation,” said Amnon Dekel, the newly appointed managing director of HUstart, the Hebrew University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, in an interview with The Times of Israel. “In this century, as you go forward in life, whether you work in tech or in services, you need to be innovative and an entrepreneur.”

      Appointed to the post in July, Dekel will lead Hebrew University’s push to spearhead the development of technology from the huge amount of research within its ivory towers while at the same time helping the university become an integral part of Jerusalem’s tech ecosystem.

      “The Hebrew University had an image perhaps of an old, not progressive environment,” he said. “I have met with our researchers at our labs, and there are seriously innovative world-changing technologies that are being developed. The researchers… were hungry to collaborate, they want to create more startups and take our technologies out into the world.”
      Amnon Dekel, managing director of the HU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, (HUstart); (Courtesy)


      The university today has a critical mass of research in its pipeline. With the right channeling it can lead to “a huge explosion of things that can happen. The ground is fertile.”

      Innovation and entrepreneurship, Dekel said, are skills that can be learned, and because they entail being able to identify and solve problems, are needed by everyone in the workforce today.

      The university plans to strengthen its curriculum with project-based learning, including courses and entrepreneur workshops. Those students who have developed an idea and want to take it forward, in any field, will be encouraged to join accelerator programs and may also get university funding for their initiatives. The highest level will see the student-entrepreneurs build companies within the university and then take them to the market.

      “We are planning to set up a special student fund,” Dekel said. “The idea is to encourage students to move from ideas to products.”

      The university is planning to reach out to philanthropists to finance its plans, he said.

      The university’s new management is on board with this change, Dekel said. President Asher Cohen took his post in September last year; Yishai Fraenkel, who served as VP of Intel Corp’s New Technologies Group, was appointed as director general of the university in October 2017; and Yaron Daniely, who hails from the tech scene, was chosen last year to head Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the university that spearheads the commercialization of technologies developed in the university.

      “Universities have two major reasons to exist,” said Dekel. The first aim is to create knowledge through research. The second is to “train people for life, enable graduates to be prepared for their professional lives.”

      So the challenge, he said, is to “open up any bottlenecks to enable the creativity that exists in all of our students, faculty and officials.”

      Success will be measured by the number of startups generated from the university, the success of graduates in their careers, and the level of interest students retain for their university studies.

      “Higher education is going through disruption,” Dekel said. Costs are too high for many, and online universities and alternative colleges and programming courses are becoming more appealing. “Many feel it is not always necessary to get a professional degree. By doing what we are doing, we create and provide more value for people.”

      “Universities must stay ahead of the curve,” he said. In addition, because the tech industry is changing so fast, there needs to be “cross talk” between professional training and academic studies. “We want everyone on board,” and no study area is irrelevant, he said.

      In parallel, the university will be reaching out to the growing tech ecosystem in Jerusalem — both the industry and investors — and the public sector to see what pressing problems their researchers and students can address. It will also be reaching out to other schools, like the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, as well as other partners, to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects.

      “We want HUJI to strengthen and be strengthened by the Jerusalem tech ecosystem,” Dekel said. “We want to take our knowledge and create something greater.”

      Read the source article at The Times of Israel


      Jerusalem Incubator Inks Double Korean VC Partnership

      OurCrowd Labs/02, a Jerusalem-based seed-stage incubator, has announced on Monday a collaboration agreement with two Korean venture capital firms, Development Trusts NI (DTNI) and Yozma Group Korea, the Korean branch of Israeli venture capital firm Yozma Group.

      The incubator was created as a partnership between Motorola Solutions Inc., Israel-based equity crowdfunding company OurCrowd Ltd., Mumbai-headquartered holding company Reliance Industries Ltd., and Yissum Research Development, the knowledge transfer company of Jerusalem-based Hebrew University. The incubator is also backed by the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israeli government’s tech investment arm. It focuses on deep technology startups in domains such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, autonomous transportation and smart cities.

      The collaboration between the incubator and the Korean venture firms “seeks to establish ‘landing pads’ in Israel and South Korea, with the intention of providing startups from both countries the network to establish themselves, connect with the local startups and innovation ecosystems, and forge meaningful collaborations,” said in a statement Moshe Raines, OurCrowd Labs/02 CEO.

      Read the source article at


      From Bench to Bedside-Transferring Tech from Academia to Industry

      By Diane Hess

      Israel’s success as a “startup nation” derives from its entrepreneurial culture and its ability to commercialize academic innovations. Hebrew University was one of the first to embrace the process of transferring technology from academia to industry— it established Yissum, its tech transfer company, back in 1964.

      “Yissum is not only valuable for the Hebrew University, but for the Israeli economy,” said Avner Mendelson, CEO of Bank Leumi USA and a board member of American Friends of the Hebrew University. “It is a model for the commercialization of technology worldwide.”

      A nation of just over eight million people, Israel lists more Nasdaq companies than any other except the United States, according to a recent report by The Times of Israel. It is number one in the world for venture capital raised on a per capita basis.

      Among Yissum’s successes include blockbuster drugs like Doxil to treat cancer and Exelon for Alzheimer’s disease, agricultural innovations such as a breed of cherry tomato with a longer shelf life, and automotive tech giant Mobileye.

      Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel, Google, Boston Scientific, ICL, and many others.

      These relationships help to pump capital back into the Hebrew University.


      Israeli stem cell startup raises $4 million for chemo effectiveness technology

      NewStem Ltd., a Jerusalem-based biotech startup with a precision-medicine technology that it says can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy, said Monday it has raised $4 million in seed financing from a US-based company.

      The US firm is Hollywood Media Corp., a shell company whose shares are traded over the counter. On Monday, Hollywood Media, which previously operated in ad sales, said that it is undergoing a strategic transformation via its investment in NewStem, and refocusing on NewStem’s diagnostic technology. The US company is replacing its officers and directors, and intends to change its name to NovelStem International Corp.

      The funding in NewStem will be in two stages, with $2 million in cash upfront and the remaining amount depending on milestones. The US firm will get a 20 percent stake in the firm, rising to 30% once the milestones are met and new funds are injected, NewStem CEO Ayelet Dilion-Mashiah said in a phone interview.


      NewStem is a spin-off of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University.


      The Israeli startup’s technology can predict patients’ resistance to chemotherapy, allowing for better, targeted cancer treatments and the potential to reduce such resistance, the company says.

      Drug resistance is a major cause of treatment failure in cancer chemotherapy. In present clinical practice, resistance to chemotherapy is only recognized after the first course of treatment has been completed, once no major clinical response is observed. In nearly 50% of all cancer cases, resistance to chemotherapy already exists before initiation of the treatment.

      Treatment of patients with ineffective chemotherapy results in major health hazards, unnecessary suffering and increased costs.

      The company hopes the funding will enable it to get to market with its technology within three years, Dilion-Mashiah said. Because the technology is used for diagnostics support, it does not need all the regulatory permits that are generally required for medications, she explained.

      NewStem CEO Ayelet Dilion-Mashiah (Courtesy)


      NewStem’s technology, developed by its chief science officer Professor Nissim Benvenisty, is based on the harvesting of human haploid embryonic stem cells. These cells enable the company to create cell mutations to test chemotherapies on. The mutations that are not killed by the chemotherapy agents are those that are resistant to the treatment.

      This data is fed into a library created by the company. Comparing this database with each patient’s tumor genetic profile will allow for the prediction of resistance to chemotherapy prior to the commencement of treatment, the company said.

      With the funding, NewStem now has a “solid long-term partner” and “the capital, expertise and strategic counsel to further advance NewStem’s products and solutions for chemotherapy targeting,” Dilion-Mashiah said.

      In addition to NewStem’s in-house development relating to diagnosis od chemotherapy resistance, the company is seeking to use its haploid technology to enter into collaborations with “leading pharmaceutical companies or promising startups” to develop medications for genetic disorders and for reproductive purposes, the company said in a statement.

      “NewStem is an excellent new addition to the dozens of academic-born startups rooted in the strong life science research at the Hebrew University,” Yaron Daniely, the CEO and president of Yissum, said. “This investment provides strong support for NewStem’s goal of revolutionizing the treatment of cancer through personalized, patient-centered care.”

      Benvenisty is a professor of genetics at the Hebrew University, and the Director of the Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research. His research focuses on stem cell biology, tissue engineering, human genetics, and cancer research.

      Yissum serves as a bridge between academic research at the university and the community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry.

      Read the source article at The Times of Israel



      Dr. Yaron Daniely

      Dr. Yaron Daniely is the President and CEO of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was previously the President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Alcobra Ltd, since March 2010. Immediately prior to joining Alcobra and since 2007, Dr. Daniely was the President and Chief Executive Officer of NanoCyte, Inc., a company that develops transdermal delivery technologies based in Caesarea, Israel. Before NanoCyte and from 2004, Dr. Daniely was the General Manager of Gamida Cell—Teva Joint Venture Ltd., a joint venture company that acquired an exclusive license to develop and commercialize a Phase 3-stage cell therapy product for treatment of Leukemia and Lymphoma based in Jerusalem, Israel. From 2003-2007, Dr. Daniely also served as the Vice President of Business Development of Gamida Cell Ltd., and engaged in several licensing and financial transactions for the Company. In addition, he co-founded and served as a director of Bioblast Ltd. (NASADQ:ORPN).

      Dr. Daniely holds a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Florida International University, and holds a Ph.D. from the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at the New York University School of Medicine. Following his doctoral program, Dr. Daniely served as an NIH Visiting Fellow in its Cell Biology section and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at The Weizmann Institute for Science in Israel. Subsequently, he received an Executive M.B.A. from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Dr. Daniely co-founded Israel’s first M.B.A. program specializing in Biomedical Management at the College of Management Academic Studies (Rishon Letzion, Israel) and has served as the program’s director since its inception.


      Hebrew University Researchers to Collaborate with GRAIL

      June 12, 2018-Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced a strategic collaboration with GRAIL, Inc., a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. Under the agreement, GRAIL will sponsor a research program led by Professor Yuval Dor of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine.

      Professor Dor, working with Dr. Ruth Shemer, Dr. Tommy Kaplan, and Professor Benjamin Glaser from Hadassah Medical Center, is creating a method to determine the tissue origins of circulating DNA, using epigenetic “identity marks” from the DNA that are typical to each cell type, termed DNA methylation.

      In the new partnership, GRAIL and the Hebrew University team will collaborate to generate methylation data from multiple cell types to understand how to interpret the source of blood-based signals.

      Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO and President of Yissum, welcomed the agreement. “We are excited to enter this collaboration with GRAIL, which underscores the promise of Professor Dor’s research at Hebrew University and supports our vision of bettering the lives of people around the world through collaborations between industry and academic organizations.”

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