Spotlight: China-Israel cooperation in life science tech expected to thrive

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-13 02:34:29|Editor: yan
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by Keren Setton

JERUSALEM, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- With the potential of a marriage, a relationship requires work to be done on both sides. So does the cooperation in life science techs between China and Israel.

China's vast market and Israel's proven ability to be at the cutting edge of technological innovation can lead to great results.

According to the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI), the umbrella organization of high-tech and life science tech industries, over 1,400 life science companies in Israel have employed around 85,000 people.

Data also show that almost 40 percent of Israeli hi-tech exports are pharmaceutical and medical equipment products.

In recent years, the Israeli government has made life science technology a priority and has invested millions of U.S. dollars.

However, life science technology can be a risky business, with hundreds of companies in Israel shutting down in the past decades.

Investments needed in such business are substantially higher. This sector has a greater need for government involvement as private entities are often not willing to take such a risk or run such a long distance until profits start coming in.

However, China has advantages that Israel lacks.

"For years, Israel's focus was on the United States and Europe. In the last six years, there has been a shift to China," said Ziv Tamir, chairman of the Messila start-up academy. "In Israel, we need partners in China because the market there is so big, and the manufacturing is good. It's a win-win situation for both."

Oren Rasooli is an entrepreneur and the owner of CimiComp, an investment platform aimed at promoting Chinese-Israeli innovation cooperation.

"Chinese firms pose an opportunity for Israeli firms with their marketing and distribution channels. It is a way to market, develop and sell innovative products," Rasooli told Xinhua.

In 2014, Tel Aviv University signed a cooperation agreement with Tsinghua University, one of China's top universities, and the two sides launched the XIN Center aimed at creating innovative technologies, finding investors and marketing channels for Israeli firms.

In 2016, Israeli firm Alon MedTech, which specializes in medical devices, also signed an agreement with Tsinghua University to promote projects from the XIN incubator.

Chinese venture capital Shanghai Creation Investment has invested in Israeli digital health incubator eHealth Ventures, as both sides are eager to promote digital health.

At the beginning of the year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the government was to invest over 250 million dollars in digital healthcare.

China, the most populous country in the world, is tackling many challenges in its healthcare system. National expenditure on health is growing annually, posing thirst for innovation.

"I hope to see more Chinese firms opening R&D centers in Israel. For now, that number is small. It will make cooperation easier," Tamir told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, China has been carrying out reforms in its policy on intellectual property. With leaps in technological abilities, China has significantly narrowed the gap between the world's leading countries.

Rasooli said China carries more than just the benefit of a vast market. It is an untapped resource of massive amounts of data that can be beneficial to medical start-ups.

"Partnership with a Chinese player can provide an Israeli firm access to key opinion leaders, access to vast clinical data and market channels," Rasooli said, adding if both sides realize they can learn from each other, both can reap great benefits.