BIRD Newsletter VII


Dear friends and colleagues,

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

The Editor



Director’s Perspective    


Call For Proposals

BIRD News & Updates

About BIRD               


BIRD Upcoming Events

Contact Us

Spotlight On... 

Director's Perspective                                                                                                  


Times of Crisis and Hope for Renewal


Times of crisis bring frustration, pain and disappointment, but they also carry the potential for renewal. We at BIRD aspire to support, to our fullest extent, companies and entrepreneurs to continue building and innovating through U.S.-Israeli partnerships of mutual benefit

Although the signs of the crisis had been in the atmosphere for a while, it was not until the last quarter of 2008 that we started to see the actual effects of the economic downturn, caused by a series of financial faults and psychological effects. While writing these lines, we are in the midst of a storm whose time limits no one can really predict. U.S. and Israeli companies are being extremely careful with their investments and the risks they take. Downsizing is everywhere.

It is in difficult times such as these that we are going through now that outstanding leadership is essential. Leadership is required to deal with the harshness of downsizing and – not less important – to build the atmosphere of innovation and renewal. The best leaders will do their utmost to keep their best people on board and focused on the tasks that can bring revenues in the short term, while never neglecting the future. One of the greatest challenges during crisis times is to allocate valuable human resources to non-immediate tasks, foreseeing the day after.

A crisis is also an opportunity to think out-of-the-box and desert stagnation. The sudden lack of security provides strong motivation to look for different ways of approaching problems, sharply raising the probability of finding new solutions. As Peter Drucker taught us in his studies on human innovation, unexpected occurrences are a major source of innovation opportunities. However, nothing comes easy – identifying such opportunities requires hard work and perseverance.

BIRD is very well positioned to support Israeli and U.S. companies in times like this. In the last three years (2006-2008), BIRD has approved 80 joint U.S.-Israeli projects, indicating the relatively large demand there is for U.S.-Israeli cooperation and risk mitigation using BIRD funding. Naturally, in present times, we see the demand growing, since start-up companies have a much harder time raising funding for their ventures and companies are much more conservative in the way they invest their internal R&D funds.


In view of the situation, increasing BIRD’s funding capability has become even more urgent. We have made much progress in forming “BIRD Energy”, which will fund U.S.-Israeli renewable energy projects, based on additional funding received from the U.S. and Israeli governments. We expect BIRD Energy soon to be formally in place and approve its first joint projects during 2009. The initial funding is relatively modest, but we expect it to increase significantly in the coming years.

BIRD’s mission is and has been for more than 30 years to support U.S.-Israeli industrial cooperation. The hundreds of projects approved and performed are the best testimony for the economic value the Foundation brings to both countries. Indeed, the economic contribution is often emphasized. I want to use this opportunity to bring to our stakeholders’ attention, the social contribution of the
BIRD Foundation
in both countries, which is reflected in myriads of projects in sectors such as improved networking systems, life sciences, food technology and, of course, the relatively new areas of cleantech and renewable energy. It is in this spirit that we hope to be able to support many more joint U.S.-Israeli projects, which bring both economic and social benefits to both countries.



Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D.
Executive Director
BIRD Foundation and TRIDE Fund




BIRD News & Updates                                                                                                     

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

Health Information Technology (Health IT) – A Field of Opportunities for Binational     Cooperation                                                                                                                           

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost." (President Obama in his inaugural speech)


Health care initiatives are high up on the new administration’s priorities. Within these presidential initiatives, there are plans for an investment of $50 billion, over the next five years, in Health Information Technology (Health IT) Systems, which have long been recognized as one of the “Achilles' heels” of Health care services: "What is perhaps most disturbing is the absence of real progress… toward applying advances in information technology to improve administrative and clinical processes" (Report submitted by the Committee on Quality of Health Care in America).


"There's a huge difference between medicine and the real world. Almost every other industry is about R&D creating products that are consumed by paying customers. Medicine is a service business. One on one. Doctors hold the expertise. It's embedded in their brains" (The End of Medicine by Andy Kessler, 2006). Health IT is a critical step to bring the expertise from the Doctor's brain into technology.


Health IT calls for all those engaged in patient care to be linked together in secure and interoperable nationwide environments, enabling the critical flow of clinical information, thus helping to ensure better, more efficient, more equal and cheaper medical care.


The extensive funding and the emphasis on Health IT development (which is set to be coordinated by the to-be established “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology”) create an enormous opportunity for binational collaboration between advanced Israeli Health IT companies and U.S. companies.

As the U.S. Stimulus Act is mainly about creation of jobs and economic viability in the U.S., and as in other critical industries, Health IT involvement of non-U.S. companies will be possible mainly via partnerships with major U.S. operators. Moreover, the unique characteristics of the U.S. market (privacy issues, for instance) are further motivation for partnering with American companies.   

The BIRD Foundation is currently funding collaboration between an Israeli startup and a major U.S. Medical Center in the deployment of an operating room decision support center.



Ohio Business Mission to Haifa Focuses on Aerospace and Defense Collaboration       

BIRD’s Ohio representative, Howard Gudell, led a 23 member high level business mission from Dayton to Israel last September to explore joint cooperation with Municipality of Haifa officials and area companies in Aerospace, Defense, Sensors and Human Effectiveness technologies. Ohio participants included the Executive Director and staff of the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base,  National Composite Center, University of Dayton Research Institute, City and County officials and representatives from Northrop Grumman, Woolpert Engineering and other private companies.


Over 30 high level meetings and special site visits were arranged in Haifa and other locations including Rafael Missile Systems, Elbit, Israel Aerospace Industries, Urban Aeronautics, Israel Ministry of Defense, Palmachim Air Force Base, Israel Export Institute and other Israeli companies involved in aerospace development. 


The weeklong mission produced a number of agreements with a major Israeli defense contractor to produce a product line in Dayton and with Adaptive Technologies, Tidex and three other companies in the areas of Jet Engine Turbine development, and 3D, wide band and remote sensing technologies.


As a result of the success of the mission, the Municipality of Haifa will return to Dayton in September 2009 with an aerospace mission headed by Haifa’s Mayor, Yona Yahav.  Anticipated major sponsors and hosts include the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, US Air Force Museum, defense contractors and suppliers, Boeing, GE, Ohio Governor, City and County officials and other industry representatives. BIRD presentations to both the Ohio and Israeli participants are planned during the mission.                          




U.S.-Israel TeleHealth Business Exchange                                                                           

The U.S.-Israel TeleHealth Business Exchange was held February 24-25, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. This matchmaker event was organized by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, SE Region with the support of BIRD, and brought 15 pre-selected Israeli medical device and software companies to Atlanta to present and meet potential strategic partners, investors, and customers including leading device, disease management companies, and insurers.  

The Program featured a keynote by Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a presentation by Dr. Paul Keckley of Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions, case study presentation of McKesson’s acquisition of Medcon, and a presentation of Georgia’s TeleMedicine initiative by Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and the Project’s Executive Director.


Atlanta Business Mission to Israel Focuses on Cleantech                                                      

Senior executives of Georgia Power Company, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, and Mueller Water Products were among the members of a business delegation from Atlanta, Georgia to Israel the week of December 14th, 2008.  Their agenda included meetings with almost 50 pre-selected Israeli water and energy technology companies as well as a briefing by BIRD Executive Director Eitan Yudilevich.  The group also visited Better Place, and an event is now being planned to showcase this “game changing” Israeli electric transportation company in Atlanta on March 20th.


Spotlight On...                                                                                                                          

This section features insightful looks into various core BIRD activities.

Opportunities and Challenges for Israeli Companies in Penetrating the U.S. Water              Market

Water is reaching a critical level of scarcity that has begun to affect populations and businesses all over the world. Even prosperous regions in the United States, such as the Southeast and the Southwest, are currently suffering from water shortage caused by constant drought and the depletion of aquifers. Climate change, decaying infrastructure and urban growth are forcing water utilities to invest resources to ensure adequate water supply and its quality.

It is clear that the water industry in the U.S. will have to adapt to these challenges rapidly. Long term opportunities will be plentiful for those Israeli companies that can bring proven solutions to the US market such as desalinization, water reuse, sewage treatments, drip irrigation and security.

Israeli companies seeking to deploy water management solutions in the U.S. market must develop a local strategy that will include cooperation and collaboration with water agencies, engineering companies, integrators, environmentalists and consumers. Creating pilot testing facilities to demonstrate their value proposition and publicizing the outcomes of those pilots is required. While technology is important, marketing and advocacy is just as critical in order to convince the decision makers to adopt it.


However, before jumping into the water, Israeli companies should be aware of the challenges they may face while approaching the market:

  • Price: The price of water in many areas in the states is almost free. Some large cities have not even installed water meters and have no knowledge of the amount that is being consumed by their customers. At present, the low price of water leaves people with little economic incentive to invest in more water-efficient forms of farming, industry or landscaping.
  • Lack of Awareness: The majority of the U.S. water industry is still managed by public water agencies that are skeptical or ignorant of the potential to improve. Many of the decision makers tend to resist adoption of new, innovative technologies, and the process of convincing them to do so is time consuming.
  • Market Structure: America's water supply industry is highly fragmented. There are more than 60,000 U.S. water systems across the country; some 60 percent of these are privately owned, the remaining 40 percent are municipally owned. But while the private companies have few customers overall, the big municipal water providers have 228 million customers. This fragmentation translates into major requirements for stakeholder management in gaining approval for and executing any given project.
  • Regulation: Since the water industry is heavily regulated, it is important to closely follow all developments and decisions on the political and legislative front. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes the federal requirements regarding water use and its quality, each state can pass legislation creating tougher standards of quality. This requires companies serving the market to follow the regulation in each state closely.
  • Lack of Funding: Funding for water infrastructure in the US is inadequate. Replacing obsolete infrastructure simply to maintain existing services will require utilities to find new revenue, either from rate hikes or public subsidies. The EPA estimates that 20% of the nation's municipal wastewater treatment facilities do not comply with federal regulations and that nearly $190 billion will have to be spent over the next 20 years to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

In spite of these challenges, there are reasons for optimism that the U.S. market is starting to change: municipal water rates increased by an average of 27% over the past five-year period; as water scarcity becomes more acute, water providers will no doubt increase their interest in innovative technologies that will provide return on investment. In addition, there is growing awareness for the need to rebuild the water infrastructure in the US. The recently approved stimulus plan included $6.4 billion in funding for water-related projects. It is also expected that the new administration in Washington will support legislation that will adopt new standards related to water quality.


Since many local authorities are constantly seeking funding for needed projects, we should expect to see a growth in BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) water projects where a single contractor handles the financing, planning, construction and operation of the plant. Israeli companies that are able to offer the entire range of services, therefore, would enjoy a competitive advantage.


There is no doubt that water shortage faced by many states creates opportunities for Israeli companies offering innovative solutions to secure water and its quality. Developing a local strategy that emphasizes advocacy and marketing will be crucial for success.


Limor Nakar-Vincent

East Coast and Midwest representative of the BIRD Foundation


BIRD Upcoming Events                                                                                          

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

Seminar: Collaborative Development in Competitive Environments:                             
Tackling  Intellectual Property Challenges - April 22, 2009, Tel-Aviv                            

The seminar will shed light on intellectual property issues within collaborations in a highly competitive environment, in which  intellectual property rights are key to a company’s success.

Topics to be discussed:

What are the core issues? How to prepare for the negotiations? What legal and business tools are available to minimize the risks? How to manage possible IP disputes with competitors as well as collaborators? 


Guest Speakers will include:
Jason Mirabito, Founding Partner & Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Law Section, Mintz Levin (Boston)

Omer Peled, Business Development & Intellectual Property Management services, Lumenis
Suzanne Erez, Intellectual Property Counsel, IBM (Israel)

Dr. Alex Winokur, CTO, Axxana

Robert P. Taylor, Managing Member Intellectual Property Section,
Mintz Levin (Palo Alto)

For further information, please click here


BIO 2009 Israeli-U.S. Matchmaker Event – May 18th, Atlanta, Georgia                       

The BIO International Convention will be held May 18-21st in Atlanta, Georgia. Israel is sponsoring a major exhibition at the conference and a sizeable Israeli company delegation will be attending this premier annual Life Sciences Industry event. Currently, fourteen individual companies as well as the Bereshith Consortium, Hadasit Bio Holdings, Haifa Life Science Park and the Israel Tech Transfer Organization are scheduled to attend.


The BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry, attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers key networking and partnering opportunities, and provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry. The convention will hold hundreds of sessions covering biotech trends, policy issues and technological innovations, as well as the world's largest biotechnology exhibition (the "BIO Exhibition").


Preliminary meetings have been held to organize a half-day networking event on May 18th for the participating Israeli companies to meet pharma and biotech companies from North America.  The Economic Office for the U.S. Southern Region in conjunction with the other Economic Consuls from the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor, as well as the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the BIRD Foundation, Matimop, ILSI, and USISTF will arrange presentations and one-on-one meetings for the Israeli delegation. Additionally, the Israel Economic Office is contacting appropriate attendees to pre-arrange meetings, which will take place during the event, seeking opportunities for cooperation and partnership development.



ILSI Biomed 2009 - BIRD Foundation Session
Delivering Healthcare Solutions Through Strategic Alliances In The U.S.

Monday, June 15, 2009, 17:30- 18:30                                                                               

The aging world population greater need for new remedies and the diminishing pipeline are driving forces for big pharma and medical devices firms to embrace earlier-stage deals, as well as research collaborations.

The thrust for innovation encourages managements to seek discovery outside the corporation boundaries, leading to a collaborative, distributed and less proprietary behavior.


There is no doubt in the need and the trend. The question is how.

This session, organized by the BIRD Foundation, is comprised by panel members with hands-on experience in Strategic Alliances and “BIRD experience”.

Click here to read more about the event and to view the participating panelists

Proposal Deadlines                                                                                                            

The BIRD Foundation’s Board of Governors (BOG) is held twice a year: June and December, in the U.S. & Israel, respectively.  BIRD's last BOG was held December 8th, 2008 in Jerusalem. BIRD's upcoming BOG is scheduled for June 2009, in Washington D.C.


The deadlines for this CYCLE are:


Friday, March 13, 2009 – Executive Summary of the Proposal (PASSED)

Friday, April 17, 2009 – Final Proposal 


Please feel free to contact us in order to discuss your proposal, prior to submission of an Executive Summary.

For contact details, please click HERE 


Newsletter VI                                                                                                               

Newsletter V                                                                                                                

Newsletter IV                                                                                                               

Newsletter III                                                                                                                

Newsletter II                                                                                                                  

Newsletter I                                                                                                                   


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