The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the National Digital Ministry have selected pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva to establish an Innovation Lab in order to research digital health and computational biology. The group will establish the lab at Rehovot Science Park.
The companies will join the Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to “assist early-stage entrepreneurs and startups to meet the challenges of the healthcare industry,” an IIA announcement said.
The lab is scheduled to open in 2021 and will join existing innovation labs as part of the Israel Innovation Authority’s Innovation Lab Program. It was awarded a government budget of NIS 32 million ($9.9 million), as well as additional financing from the winning group’s partners. The group was awarded a five-year operational franchise, and the IIA and National Digital Ministry will finance 85 percent of a total NIS 3 million budget for each startup that joins the lab. The Innovation Authority and National Digital Ministry will also participate in the operating costs and in setting up the lab’s infrastructure.
“This last year proved that the healthcare sector is rapidly transitioning to development and use of advanced technologies integrating engineering and biology, which has already led to more accurate results within a shorter time framework,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority. “The expertise and vast experience of the lab partners will enable these companies to establish a significant, trailblazing industry in Israel.”
The Innovation Lab “will enable startups and researchers to cooperate with health organizations, advance groundbreaking studies, build unique data and knowledge bases, and develop innovative solutions to assist the healthcare system,” said Asher Bitton, Director-General of the National Digital Ministry.
This lab is part of the ‘Bio-convergence Strategy’ promoted by the Innovation Authority over the last year, aimed at establishing a successful, innovative ecosystem in the healthcare sector.
The purpose of the Lab is to assist in the establishment and advancement of new startups developing innovative AI-based computational technologies aimed at discovering personalized solutions and treatments. The lab will also help its startups in developing groundbreaking medications and treatments.
The rapid development of vaccines for the COVID-19 virus owes its success in part to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities of leading pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna. These areas are expected to become even more significant over the coming years.