35 projects were awarded a total of NIS 22 million for solutions to the Coronavirus pandemic
This sum is the first authorization out of the entire NIS 50 million budget that was allocated to the Authority, which also includes proposals by academic institutions, advanced manufacturing facilities, start-ups and growth stage companies. The Authority, together with the Ministry of Treasury, is considering to increase the overall budget for Calls for Proposals.
Minister of Economy and Industry, Eli Cohen: “The unique incentive programs are designed to enlist Israel’s innovation and creativity for the benefit of finding solutions to cope with the Coronavirus crisis, as well as for changing working procedures, whereby we can transform this crisis into an opportunity for Israel’s high-tech industry. Moreover, as the Coronavirus pandemic abates, we intend to allocate an additional sum of NIS 1.5 billion, as part of our plan to boost the economy and incentivize the industry, in order to facilitate growth and development of the Israeli economy.”
Dr. Ami Applebaum, Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry: “Each one of the projects selected is innovative in its field. We received over 750 requests, most of which were good. Due to high demand, the Committee was forced to pass up additional excellent projects.”
The Committee decided to support projects from a wide variety of sectors that are relevant to coping with the Coronavirus, as it believes that the disease must be tackled on many fronts, rather than just focus on one specific field, including:
•Sensors and remote monitoring systems of patients and innovative diagnostic solutions
•Remote medical treatment of patients whose regular treatment has been compromised as a result of the pandemic
•Monitoring the spread of the pandemic and inoculating the population
•Genetic decoding infrastructure to support the fight against the coronavirus
•Robotic systems for disinfecting buildings
•Industrial products to protect the body and the face
•Measures for extensive testing, such as production of swabs and automation of the lab tests
Today, applications for the additional (second) Call for Proposals will be submitted the Growth Stage Division. Immediately after the holiday the deadline for submissions by advanced manufacturing facilities for the second and last submission term will pass. . These requests are also expected to be of the same magnitude (companies, requested budgets, scope of the grants allocated and the aforementioned fields).
The purpose of the Calls for Proposals was to bring about the acceleration of solutions from ideation stage to implementation and integration into advanced solutions to cope with the virus, through technological developments or quick adaptations of products. The emphasis is on the relevance of the proposed solution for immediately coping with the crisis, its quick time to market or a promise of collaborations that will ensure the functional continuity of the Israeli economy.
The companies selected for grants include:
- Ezmems Ltd. – A real-time system for monitoring ventilators.
A real-time ventilators’ monitoring system based on single use sensors for pressure, body temperature and air failure. The system can interface with any existing or new ventilators to facilitate remote monitoring. A large quantity of patients who require ventilation will need to be treated simultaneously. There is a fierce shortage of ventilators and many of the systems have no sensors. In addition, the medical staff’s contact with the patients for monitoring purposes must be limited as much as possible. This solution will enable precise and remote monitoring in real time of multiple ventilators.
- NEAT Applied Technologies Ltd. – Physiological sensors patch to identify Coronavirus symptoms and for the effective management and monitoring of home patients. For the past 20 years, NEAT Applied Technologies has specialized in the development of biomedical sensors and systems. This plan is an accelerated continuation of the development of a smart patch with a number of sensors that detect respiratory sounds and rate, temperature and movement, facilitating the detection of important symptoms. Hardware development and clinical testing will take 6 months.The sensor patch is designed for diagnosis and continued optimal treatment at home. The patch enables fully automatic monitoring. Upon detection of symptoms it forwards the findings’ summary and changes in the patient’s condition to the medical center. The system enables a highly efficient follow-up of a large number of patients.
- Nanoscent Ltd. – A nanometric sensor -based scent system for the early detection of disease caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). A conversion of existing technology based on nanometric sensors in order to monitor people who have been inflicted with COVID -19, through the analysis of the air exhaled through the nose. Validation of the technology and implementation of the initial detection model will be achieved through a multi-center trial and the collection of samples from 1,400 volunteers.Rapid assimilation (up to six months) of the product in the market. Extensive use of the product in places where there is a large gatherings of people can significantly stem the spread of the Coronavirus by segregating people suspected of being disease carriers from healthy people.
- Barcode Diagnostics – Development of a method to identify Coronavirus carriers/ patients by scanning thousands of samples using one PCR reaction. Development of an extensive and quick diagnostic method based on Multiple Screen Analysis of hundreds of samples to detect the spread of the Coronavirus on a highly sensitive level. This diagnostic method is based on RT-PCR analysis together with dPCR, including attaching specific barcodes to each patient.
By using this proposed diagnostic method, it will be possible to scan an extensive number (up to 1,000 tests with a single PCR reaction) of samples from people who have been infected by or are suspected of being carriers of the virus, and consequently, to suggest the appropriate intervention (quarantine/ treatment) in earlier stages and thus reduce the infection rate in the population.
- Picodya – Picodya has developed the B-Matrix™ system – a diagnostic device for conducting a panel of serological tests based on proteins and antibodies outside the central laboratories. This will be adapted by the distribution of many devices as a national system for monitoring the serological response of the system (SARS, Coronavirus, influenzas) in the population for infectious respiratory diseases. This will enable the administration of serological antibodies testing of the population on a large scale and will provide real time and reliable information to decision-makers on a regular basis regarding the spread of the pandemic and the development of immunity in the population. The system will serve as a solution that will supplement the RNA/DNA testing using RT PCR devices in the laboratories, and increase the scale of inexpensive testing, by distributing the B-Matrix™ device to key locations (central labs at hospitals, community clinics, army bases, etc.) which will simultaneously measure the response to dozens of viral antigens based on tests that were conducted in the field, by extracting a number of drops of blood from subjects. The results that will be received from dozens of tests per hour will be transferred to the National Information Base. The company is aided by consultants and collaborates with leading researchers from Israeli research institutes and hospitals.
- EFCOM Optronic technology for the remote recording of indices for the initial detection of COVID patients.
An algorithm for picture processing for the monitoring of relevant indices to detect characteristics of respiratory diseases. A designated mobile app for the smartphone and a remote sensory system.
Remote tests, testing of uncooperative patients, initial classification of patients and independent testing without the physical presence of a medical staff, non-invasive symptom detection and an option for transmitting the results to existing medical systems, significantly reduction of PCR tests’ overload, automatic population scanning.
- Enlivex Therapeutics – Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd. is in the clinical trials stage and is planning to test the safety and efficacy of the Allocetra-OTS drug in COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized in serious to critical condition. Allocetra is an experimental drug which has shown initial promising results in the treatment of patients with multi-system failure related to sepsis, a syndrome with deadly pathology – Cytokine Storm –accompanied by a multi-system failure – similar to the most severe cases of Coronavirus patients.
- Augmanity Nano – Augmanity Nano Ltd. is implementing DNA-based technologies and nano-devices to win the battle against the Coronavirus – COVID-19. The company has designed drugs that are particularly targeted for the Coronavirus and have demonstrated that they are capable of effectively and safely destroy the virus’ genome. The Biological Institute in Nes Ziona is currently demonstrating the effiency of the drug in cells infected by the virus as part of an agreement signed with the Company and additional laboratories around the world have received the drugs to be used in trials. Augmanity Nano will accelerate the production process and the clinical trials, so the drug can commence trials with Israeli patients this coming summer. Based on the data from these trials, the Company will be able to establish a platform that will provide a quick solution to the outbreak of similar pandemics in the future.
- 3BY Ltd. – I A medical device company that specializes in providing development, production, assembly and Packaging services to medical and pharmaceutical industries worldwide. The company was established in 1994 and its plant is situated in the Gefen Industrial Park. The Ministry of Health has contacted the Company for the development of an immediate and commercial process for the production of tests for detection of the Coronavirus. The Company has set out to produce unique templates for the product, their engineers have developed a designated machine and defined the production process. The Company is already working on the delivering the initial production to the Ministry of Health.
- RoboTiCan Ltd. – Situated in the Omer Industrial Park, RoboTiCan Ltd. develops a robot that will move around the Coronavirus hospital ward and facilitate the communication between doctors/ nurses and the patients. Test models were tested as part of an initial trial at Sheba and Soroka hospitals. The robot has autonomous capabilities such as self-navigation, remote driving and it has a designated compartment to carry medical equipment.