A number of major international biomedical companies are negotiating to open research and development centers in Jerusalem. Among the big names in contact with the Jerusalem Development Authority are Pfizer, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The CEO of the JDA, Moty Hazan, and Chen Levin, the executive director of the Bio-Jerusalem project confirmed the contacts.
For a decade, Israel has attempted to bring large pharmaceutical companies to open R&D centers here, but not with much success. Large R&D centers would give a big push to the biotech industry. Today, the Israeli biotechnology sector is characterized by well-developed academic research, but local industry has not been able to fulfill the potential of the academic research. The state expects the new R&D centers will create a new environment and push the local biotech and biomed industries to reach international levels.
“My dream is to turn Jerusalem into the Israeli and international center for biotechnology within five years,” said Hazan. “Jerusalem has a lot to offer multinational companies, who are looking for the best minds in the world. When they come to Jerusalem, we show them Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, and Hadasit from Hadassah Medical Center, and the university and the surrounding labs,” he added.
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