T3 has been instrumental in birthing many outstanding success stories which directly contributed to making the world a better place.
T3, the Technion Technology Transfer Unit – is where great ideas from campus labs and faculty members are protected, enhanced, accelerated and translated into products through dynamic processes of commercialization. T3 is part of the Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF).
T3’s new Managing Director, Rona Samler, sees T3’s role as both active and proactive: “Our ability to streamline the commercialization process, making Technion innovation accessible in a dynamic and changing environment, is fundamental,” she says, adding that, “The holistic approach means we are active and proactive partners in promoting applications of high-quality science. This is in relation to both Technion faculty and to industry.”
T3’s business activities include collaboration with industry, facilitating sponsored research, licensing and the establishment of start-up companies based on Technion technologies.
One reflection of the innovative strength of Israel’s top institute of technology is seen in the 100 affiliated companies which were established through the intellectual property of the Technion ecosystem.
The Technion has tools to support and invest in these companies, from pre-seed through follow-up investments in designated funds, including the DRIVE accelerator, AMIT ‘s biomedical venture and The Technion Investment Opportunity Fund.
Here are some examples of how the commercialization of Technion discoveries has had a far-reaching impact, actively contributing to ‘Tikun Olam’:
* “healing the world” – a central value in Judaism that espouses benefiting humanity
Based on Technion technology, Sealantis develops medical adhesives which mimic the mechanism of algae adhering to rocks in water and which have much lower risks of infection or allergy. The company was sold in January 2019 for US$25 million to Advanced Medical Solutions Group from England. Sealantis was established under the auspices of the Alfred Mann Institute at Technion (AMIT), under the leadership of Prof. Havazelet Bianco-Peled, a world renowned expert in biomedical polymers, from the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering.
Technion-born Mazor Robotics sells for a record $1.6B
The biggest health tech exit in Israel’s history
In the largest ever ‘exit’ of an Israeli biotech company, Mazor Robotics – a pioneering developer of robotic systems for spine and brain surgery, founded at Technion – was bought in September 2018 by Irish-American medical device company Medtronic for $1.64 billion. Mazor’s innovative products were originally developed by Prof. Moshe Shoham of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Mazor started out in the Technion Entrepreneurial Incubator Company (TEIC).
Itamar Medical Ltd. is a publicly traded company that develops non-invasive medical devices for monitoring sleep and diagnosing sleep disorders based on its proprietary PAT™ technology. This technology was developed in the laboratory of Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie, who is also one of the company’s founders. Itamar Medical is based in Caesarea and markets the WatchPAT (pictured above) and EndoPAT devices worldwide.
BreezoMeter was founded in 2012 by Technion alumni Ran Korber, Ziv Lautman and Emil Fisher. Environmental engineers aware of the connection between health and the environment, they were interested in knowing the quality of the air we breathe in real time. The result is the most accurate air quality application programming interface (API) in the world.
In 2000, Prof. Yoram Palti of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine sought to leverage his expertise in biophysics to develop a new way to treat cancer that would destroy tumor cells while sparing healthy tissue. His research led to the founding of Novocure, which has grown into an international oncology company with more than 495 employees and operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The company’s development center remains in Haifa.
Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc. is a global technology leader in robotic-assisted vascular interventions. Prof. Rafi Beyar, Former Director of Rambam Healthcare Campus and former Dean of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, co-founded the company. Corindus’ next-generation CorPath GRX System is advancing the field of robotic interventional cardiology, offering improvements in radiation protection for physicians and the potential to reduce radiation exposure for staff and patients.
Technion DRIVE – an accelerator for entrepreneurs who are part of the Technion community and whose start-ups are in the pre-seed or seed stages – is bearing fruit after only 2.5 years.
DRIVE start-ups cover a large range of fields. One company, VineSight, developed an algorithm that identifies fake news and is now gaining traction. Another start-up, NanoSynex, founded by two young Technion alumni who are both new immigrants (from France and Brazil), raised $1.5 million to fund further development of their product: rapid identification of antibiotic resistance. The technology is based on research that was carried out in Prof. Shulamit Levenberg’s lab. BrainVu detects emotions on faces non-invasively and remotely using Technion technology. Last year, it was acquired by Mantis Vision.
Out of the 26 companies in DRIVE’s portfolio, four are based on Technion technologies. The others are by alumni. Companies that are accepted to the program receive up to $100,000, business mentorship, space in DRIVE’s offices on campus and access to Technion labs and resources. The nine-month program provides participating entrepreneurs with assistance in fundraising and finding potential clients, as well as introducing them to a huge network of mentors and investors, many of whom are Technion alumni themselves.
Dr. Shuli Shwartz, DRIVE’s Managing Director, is herself an experienced entrepreneur who founded three ventures and recently co-managed Runway, a start-up incubator program for postdocs at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York (see page 40). She is personally involved with each of the accelerator’s start-ups, customizing the mentorship training of the first-time entrepreneurs and helping with pitching and fund raising, team building, product development and more.