BIRD Newsletter II

Dear friends and colleagues, 

Enclosed is the second edition of the BIRD newsletter. As before, we welcome your comments and suggestions, and hope you find the newsletter informative and useful. 

The Editor



Director’s  Perspective    

                   Spotlight On...
  BIRD News & Updates

About BIRD                 


BIRD Upcoming Events

Contact Us 

Director's Perspective                                                                                                         

Looking Forward: Alternative and Renewable Energy Conference, November 8th, 2006, Tel Aviv, Israel 


On an ongoing basis, BIRD is constantly exploring new areas in technology for investment. In the late 90's, we began supporting biotechnology projects, and after the events of 9/11, we started funding homeland security projects.  Most recently, during the first months of 2006, an internal strategic analysis we conducted identified three new emerging areas of interest for BIRD funding: Alternative and Renewable Energy, Water and Nanotechnology. 


Renewable energy is not a completely new area for BIRD - many years ago, we were already supporting solar energy projects. However, since then there have not been many proposals in this area. We would like to increase the number of renewable energy cooperative projects – it should be noted that one such project was recently approved at BIRD's last Board of Governors meeting, held in June. 


The global and national importance of alternative and renewable energy is widely recognized. Rising oil prices, the political implications of oil dependence and the almost catastrophic effect of emissions on the environment have caused turmoil among decision makers worldwide, as stated in President Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address (The Advanced Energy Initiative). At the same time, the business community has identified “cleantech” (or “green technology”) as an investment area with huge growth potential. 


Israel must not lag behind this trend. At BIRD, we believe that there is great potential both in Israeli technology and in U.S.-Israel cooperation for developing energy alternatives. There are already some well-established Israeli companies with a leadership role in their fields, such as Ormat (geothermal power) and Solel (solar energy). A very promising public company in fuel cells, an active research area in academia with well-defined commercial prospects, is Medis Technologies (fuel cells for portable devices).  


Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, emphasized U.S.-Israel cooperation for alternative energy in his address to the U.S. Congress on May 24th, 2006: “A land with limited resources, eager to facilitate cooperation with the United States, Israel devotes its best and brightest scientists to research and development for new generations of safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly sources of energy. Both our countries share a desire for energy security and prevention of global warming. Therefore, through the United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act and other joint frameworks, in collaboration with our U.S. counterparts, Israel will increase its efforts to find advanced scientific and technological solutions designed to develop new energy sources and encourage conservation.” 


As we've seen in other countries, public policy is a key factor in determining mass usage of alternative energy sources. In this respect, the Prime Minister’s public expression of commitment to this cause is a very important step. We, too, at BIRD, are committed to establishing U.S.-Israel cooperation as a cornerstone of this policy and intend to play a pivotal role in promoting industrial cooperation in this area between the two countries. 


In view of the above, BIRD and the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission (USISTC) have taken a joint initiative to hold a conference in order to identify ways to enhance Israel’s contribution to this important area.  


This initiative was rapidly supported and adopted by the Ministry of National Infrastructures. The conference will be held within the framework of the Prime Minister’s Conference for International Cooperation, in order to include the Export Institute and the Manufacturers Association of Israel, as well. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor will be represented by the Chief Scientist's Office and the Investment Promotion Center. The Ministry of Science is also participating in the organizing effort. 


The Conference’s principal sponsor is the American Jewish Congress, which organized a very successful conference on energy cooperation back in 2003. Other sponsors include the Israel Cleantech Ventures, a young venture capital fund, and the Binational Science Foundation (BSF).


The program will feature senior speakers from Israel and from abroad and will include an overview of recent research in academia.  Panel participants will include promising young companies in areas such as solar energy, bio-energy and energy efficiency. Further, detailed information about the Conference, to be held November 8th, 2006, at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel, can be found HERE.  


Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D. 

Executive Director 


BIRD News & Updates                                                                                                        

This section features highlights of BIRD's  organized events, hosted delegations and other relevant developments concerning the BIRD sphere

Report from the June Board of Governors Meeting held in WashingtonD.C.                  

BIRD’s last Board of Governors (BOG) meeting was held on June 8th, 2006, in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Science (NAS), attended by BOG members1, advisors and the BIRD team.

The BIRD team presented twelve projects for the Board’s discussion and consideration. Each project was presented along with the assessment of reviewers from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and from the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in Israel. Eleven of these projects were approved by the BOG, in various fields such as Communications, Life Sciences and Homeland Security (A full list of the projects approved by the BOG can be found by clicking the link at the end of this article). 


The BOG meeting was productive. In addition to the routine subjects, the BIRD team presented a strategic analysis performed internally. One of the important conclusions from this analysis is the need to emphasize new subjects, such as alternative/renewable energy, water technology and nanotechnology.


Click here to view the list of projects approved





1 The Board of Governors is composed of six government officials, three from the U.S. government and three from the Israel government.


Background Information

BIRD’s Board of Governors holds a meeting once every semester, in June and December. The June meeting is held in Washington, D.C., while the December meeting is held in Jerusalem. At these meetings the BIRD management reports to the BOG. The report consists of discussions on the different aspects of BIRD’s activities, including, of course, a report on the financial status of the Foundation. The climax of these important meetings is the presentation, discussion and approval or rejection of new projects



BIRD Establishes First Official Partnership with an American City                    


BIRD has established its first official partnership with a U.S. municipality – Akron, Ohio - by opening an office in the City’s “International Business Accelerator”, a state-of-the-art, internationally recognized 146,000 square foot manufacturing and life sciences facility.
The announcement was jointly made in Akron on June 23rd, 2006 by BIRD Executive Director Dr. Eitan Yudilevich and Akron Mayor, Donald Plusquellic, at a special luncheon meeting of community and business leaders. Mayor Plusquellic stated that “Akron is the center of the Polymer industry in the U.S. with such companies as Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone, Omnova and RubberMaid having headquarters or major R&D facilities in the area. […] We are also an important center for life sciences having such internationally known facilities as the Cleveland Clinic located here. As such, we feel this partnership between BIRD and Akron will result in much success and we’re excited to be working with this organization”. Dr. Yudilevich stated that he believes the partnership will help infuse both Israeli and U.S. business with capital, saying, "This partnership will greatly enhance cooperation between Israel and Northeastern Ohio by introducing new technologies that can help local companies. They will see additional sources of capital financing and benefit from the excellent relationships established by the mayor." 


Mr. Howard Gudell, BIRD’s Ohio representative, will staff the new dedicated office and continue to provide services to all of Ohio through this new high tech venue.


Mayor Plusquellic and Dr. Yudilevich first met during a high level business delegation visit to Israel in January 2006, organized by Mr. Gudell, where the potential for joint cooperation was initially discussed. 


Mayor Plusquellic also stated that “This association with BIRD will greatly help us create joint ventures between Israeli, greater Akron and Ohio companies that will benefit all the parties concerned”. The Mayor also thanked Mr. Gudell for helping to facilitate the new partnership. 


To date, BIRD has approved four projects in Ohio, fostering cooperation between Cleveland Clinic and Israel’s Quark Biotech; Cleveland Clinic and Israel’s Impulse Dynamics; Alpha Mirror and Israel’s Elbit; Online Computer Library Center in Columbus and Israel's Olive Software.




Amgen Participates in Israel’s Premier Life Sciences Event                                                




In June 2006, a representative from Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, attended “Israel BIOMED”, Israel’s premier life sciences conference, and spent several days outside the conference looking into Israel’s burgeoning biotechnology industry. The genesis of Amgen’s participation was a meeting with BIRD at this year’s Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) annual meeting in Chicago. 



During his stay, Amgen’s Mr. Thomas Hooker Bliss, Jr., Director of International Licensing and Licensing Operations, visited and met with venture capital groups, incubators, university technology transfer groups and individual company representatives. Mr. Bliss also met with a representative at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and at the Office of the Chief Scientist to discuss future opportunities for research and for investment in Israel’s rapidly growing biotechnology industry.


In total, nearly 50 partnering discussions were held, mostly in the meeting area of BIOMED at the Jerusalem Conference Center, but also on-site at a number of universities, institutes and other types of biotechnology-focused organizations.  Mr. Bliss was hosted by Mr. Shai Aizin, Consul for Economic Affairs at the Los Angeles, California Israel Consulate. In addition, Mr. Bliss was assisted throughout his meetings at BIOMED by Dr. Ron Maron of the BIRD Foundation. 



Amgen’s Mr. Bliss, on his first trip to Israel, commented on his expectations and experience:  “We have a regular dialogue with many of Israel’s leading tech transfer groups, and I am delighted to say that we inked an agreement with one such group the day I arrived and have subsequently licensed a therapeutic candidate, the research for which originated in Israel.  Although Israel has long been a research location of renown, there has been a distinct maturation of efforts in Israeli biotechnology over the last several years and our intention is to step up our dialogue with the industry in Israel via participation in programs like BIOMED.  It was an eventful week and a very productive use of time.”



BIRD Presented to University Students in Ohio                                                                    

Howard Gudell, BIRD’s Ohio representative, was invited by Ohio State University to present a lecture on Israel, its high tech economy and opportunities to create joint ventures and collaborative relationships with it. In his lecture, Mr. Gudell presented BIRD by giving it as an example of the benefits of doing business with Israeli companies, emphasizing the unique financing model BIRD offers.  


Giving lectures at academic facilities presents a unique opportunity for “getting the word out” about BIRD, resulting in increased interest by the students to explore bi-lateral trade and business with Israel (students of which many already serve as mid-level executive in major companies) and potentially also provides a contact and entry point to these companies that may be used to develop a BIRD project. 


The successful lecture has brought about invitations for further presentations by Mr. Gudell at Ohio State University, as well as other universities.




BIRD Presented to the San Antonio-Austin Life Sciences Association (SALSA)              


The Israel Economic Office in Houston delivered a 30 minute presentation on BIRD and other opportunities for partnering with Israeli companies to 30 attendees from the San Antonio-Austin Life Sciences Association (SALSA) ( on June 23rd, 2006. 


San Antonio-Austin Life Sciences Association (SALSA) is a regional organization combining the unique strengths of San Antonio's $10 billion biomedical business sector and military support with Austin's multi-billion dollar information technology strengths and investment capital to create one dynamic "biotech corridor." SALSA has unified scientists, biomedical professionals, service providers, academic and government representatives, and high-tech specialists from these neighboring cities to create a mutually beneficial relationship to attract business and spur technology transfer.





"Israel – A Leading Source of Technological Innovation" Event in Austin, Texas            

The Government of Israel Economic Office in Houston, in conjunction with the International Center of Austin (ICA) and the Austin Technology Council (ATC), have held an event titled Israel - A Leading Source of Technological Innovation on August 29th, 2006 at the offices of the International Center of Austin. 


Using Israeli companies and Texas-based companies with operations in Israel as case studies, the event showcased Israel as an excellent source of technological innovation and human capital. Arie Brish, CEO of Tehuti Networks, and Robert O’Dell, Co-founder and EVP of Marketing and Business Development of Wintegra, were featured speakers, along with further speakers from Freescale Semiconductor and Alon USA. 


During the event, opportunities for building partnerships with Israeli companies across all industries were presented, with a strong emphasis on the BIRD Foundation. In addition, Joseph Abraham, Israel’s Consul for Economic Affairs in Houston, highlighted important events taking place in Israel, such as Biomed Israel, Agritech Israel and most notably, Telecom Israel 2006. 


American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region Considering Inaugurating a New Industry Cluster Based Around the Energy, Water and Environment Sector   

In developing a new strategic plan for the next three years, AICC is considering a new industry cluster based around Energy/Water/Environment, to complement current industry focuses on Telecommunications, Software, Medical, and Security sectors. 


Basing this potential on BIRD’s interest in Alternative and Sustainable Energy and the Southeast region’s assets for the sector (which include the corporate headquarters of GE Energy and Southern Company in Atlanta, as well as major energy companies in neighboring states such as TVA in Tennessee and Duke Energy in North Carolina) the Chamber expects to recruit a delegation of interested parties for the November 8th “Alternative and Renewable Energy Conference” in Tel Aviv.



Juniper Networks Hosted Silicon Valley Executives Invited by BIRD                                

On September 14th, 2006, the BIRD Foundation invited Silicon Valley executives to take part in a breakfast event hosted by Juniper Networks executives.

Nicholas Pianim, Vice President of Business Development and Carl Engineer, Senior Director, Strategy and Planning at Juniper Networks gave a very interesting presentation about Juniper’s "Vision of the Future of Networking".  

This event, like the previous ones, provided a great opportunity for the attending companies to meet executives of market leaders. 

Nicholas Pianim, VP Business Development, Carl Engineer, Senior Director, Strategy and Planning at Juniper Networks and BIRD’s Michal Miasnik


BIRD Upcoming Events                                                                                                        

This section features information about upcoming events organized by and/or affiliated to BIRD

Alternative and Renewable Energy Conference, November 8th, 2006, David                          InterContinental, Tel Aviv, Israel                                                                                             

As described in the “Director’s Perspective” section of this newsletter; please follow THIS link to access the conference’s website, where further information can be found.





Israel Life Science Road Show (November 6-9th, 2006) in Virginia, Boston, NJ and NYC    

The 2006 Israel Life Science Road Show is an event designed to facilitate investments and strategic partnerships between U.S. and Israeli companies in the Life Science and Medical Technology sector. A dozen promising Israeli companies will be invited to join the Road Show that will take place on November 6-9th, 2006 in each of the following locations: Virginia, Boston, NJ and NYC. Registration and additional information about the event can be found


Senior executives from leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, representatives from the venture capital community, and leading researchers will have the opportunity to learn about the technologies and products and to meet one-on-one with representatives from the Israeli companies throughout the day. In each location, the program will include keynote presentations and panel discussions, company presentations, one-on-one meetings and networking opportunities.


The already confirmed panelists at the 2006 event that will take place in Boston include:

  • John Brooks, General Partner, Prism Venture Partners 
  • Ed Mascioli, Executive Partner, MPM Capital 
  • Scott Silverman, Principal, Atlas Venture
  • Batsheva Elran, Managing Partner, Medica
  • Lothar Koob, Executive Vice President of Analogic's Medical Systems Division (Ret.)  
  • Reid Leonard, Senior Director, External Research and Licensing, Merck Research laboratories 
  • Jeffrey Wiesen, Chairman of the Biotechnology Practice, Mintz Levin

Pfizer has also committed their participation at the road show. This is the third Israel Life Science Road Show organized by the ILSRS, Inc. in partnership with the Government of Israel Economic Mission, BIRD Foundation, MATIMOP, and ILSI.



McKesson Provider Technologies’ DIRECTIONS Conference, December 11-                  14th, Atlanta, GA.                                                                                                                     


The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, SE Region, is coordinating with McKesson Provider Technologies, the world’s largest healthcare IT solutions company, to invite a group of Israeli companies to their December 11-14th, 2006 DIRECTIONS conference that will be held in Atlanta.  McKesson’s interest is motivated by their 2005 acquisition for $105 million of Tel Aviv-based Medcon, to whom they were originally introduced by the Chamber.


AICC is coordinating with BIRD on the identification of Israeli companies relevant to the company’s interests. In addition to McKesson’s key executives, the Israeli companies selected for participation will also have the opportunity to meet their top vendor partners including HP, IBM, Borland, and value added resellers.

McKesson’s Technology targets include:

By Functionality: 

  • Data Storage (lower cost of ownership)
  • Development Tools (leading to standardization)
  • Life Cycle Management
  • Medical Interface
  • Enhanced Integration
  • RFID>>>CAD

By Application:

  • Medical Imaging (including Advanced Visualization/Computer Assisted Diagnosis)
  • Location Based Sensing
  • Home Healthcare Applications
  • Genomics (e.g. drug interactions)
  • Voice Recognition
  • Patient Monitoring (ER, ICU)
  • Clinical Decision Support (diagnostic & treatment centric)
  • Oncology (managing treatment, chemo/radiation interactions)
  • Robotics/Automation (drug dispensing process from scan pt band, CPOE, dispensing cart management) (non-interventional surgical suite assistance)



Spotlight On...                                                                                                                        

 This section features insightful looks into various core BIRD activities.

The Israeli Technological Incubators Program and BIRD                                                     

The Israeli technological incubators program supports novice entrepreneurs at the earliest stage of technological entrepreneurship and helps them implement their ideas by turning them into exportable commercial products and forming productive business ventures in Israel.  


Through 25 technological incubators, the government provides entrepreneurs with physical premises, financial resources, tools, professional guidance, and administrative assistance - so that, during their stay, they may turn their abstract ideas into advantageous products of proven feasibility, novelty, and necessity in the international marketplace. The program is applied under the guidance and with the support of the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. 


About 900 projects have come out of the incubators thus far; around 45 percent of them continued on their own, while many managed to attract private investments and kept running successfully in this manner. A company graduated from the incubator is a relatively mature one, usually more experienced than comparable young companies, and usually holds more assets that can be used for the benefit of a joint effort. 


We at BIRD also keep close relations with the various incubators in order to pick those companies which we think may be appropriate partners for collaboration with American companies. Towards the end of the two year period at the incubator, a company may apply and request our help in matching them with a U.S. company and in financing such cooperation, whether it was initiated by BIRD or by the company itself. We encourage all the companies currently in the incubators program towards the end of their 2nd year, or companies which have completed their term within an incubator, to contact us in order to explore the opportunities proposed by the BIRD Foundation. 


BIRD welcomes American companies looking for innovative technologies in Israel to contact the Foundation. Being highly acquainted with the Israeli Hi-Tech/Bio-Tech marketplace, there are fairly high chances that we’ll be able to assist you in identifying companies holding the innovative technology you seek. Should the U.S. company and the Israeli company decide to join efforts in developing and commercializing a technology, BIRD may financially support this activity.



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