News & Events
Jefferson & Israel Innovation Authority launched a competition to award a total of $1 million to four Israeli startups in the health sector
By Brian Hickey
Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president of Thomas Jefferson University; Professor Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of the Hebrew University Hadassah Faculty of Medicine; and Dr. Zvi Grunwald, director of the Jefferson Israel Center, at the announcement of the Jefferson Israel Center.
Last February, Thomas Jefferson University and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) launched a competition to award a total of $1 million to four Israeli startup companies to develop, test and pilot innovative technologies in the health sector.
Making the announcement timelier is the fact that the winning technologies are expected to help fight many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results of the competition—which drew 42 entrants focused on patient care, revenue generation, reputation and/or philanthropy—were announced this spring, with a quartet of winners being selected: Agamontech Technologies, ART Medical, Seegnal and Somatix Technologies.
“It is exciting to observe the maturation of an idea from inception and humble start to an inspiring international collaboration in health sciences that may benefit our societies especially in a time they are seeking solutions and responding to a global pandemic,” says Dr. Zvi Grunwald, director of the Jefferson Israel Center, professor and emeritus chair of anesthesiology at Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Medical College.
The technologies advanced in each case are:
Agamontech: Healthcare intelligence platform used to access high-quality data and insights (radiology, artificial intelligence, decision support systems and digital imaging)
ART Medical: Personalized ICU management system based on nutrition (critical care medicine, nutrition management, decision support system, medical equipment, gastroenterology, pulmonary)
Seegnal: All-in-one, patient-adaptive clinical decision support system (CDSS) for managing and mitigating drug-related problems (pharmacology and CDSS)
Somatix: Wearable wristband enabling passive remote monitoring of seniors’ daily activities (telemedicine, wearables, remote monitoring, patient management and engagement, continuity of care).
Thanks to those awards, the winners not only get to test their initiatives but have access to Jefferson staffs in settings ranging from hospitals and outpatient facilities, to rehabilitation facilities and urgent-care sites throughout the communities they serve.
"The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the already overexerted medical system under more pressure of timely diagnosis and highlighted the need to provide remote medical treatment to prevent further spread of the disease,” says Dr. Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and chief scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Finance and Industry.
“The winning projects will allow the medical system in Israel, the U.S. and even globally to better sift through multitude of medical data and provide caregivers with a real-time understanding of all pertinent medical information to allow them to provide the appropriate and personalized treatment for each patient either at home or the medical facility," Dr. Appelbaum continues.
Dr. Grunwald says the competition built on the Jefferson/IIA relationship, which took a giant leap forward in June 2018 when the Jefferson Israel Center opened in Jerusalem as a vehicle for fostering global education, health care and innovation initiatives.
Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson, noted at the time that “Israel today is what Silicon Valley was in the late 1990s (and) an ecosystem of innovation that has more technology startups per capita than anywhere in the world right now.”
He spoke about the importance of the recent awards.
“International partnering represents a key strategic anchor for our University as this century unfolds, and the opportunities are unbounded for leveraging global relationships to pioneer technologies in the healthcare and higher education spaces, and in so doing, to give life to our vision for ‘redefining humanly possible,’” Dr. Tykocinski says.
Progress does not end with these awards. A call for a second round of submissions has gone out.
“This is the first harvest of the fruits of collaboration,” Dr. Grunwald says. “Lessons learned from the current successful engagements are implemented in the next generation of pilot programs our teams are launching in the very near future."