Duplicating Israeli Successes



By: ORIT ALON  
Published: June 26th 2010
in Economics » Local

Dr. Rafi Hofstein
From the latest exhibition "Lullaby" by Orit Hofstein

Dr. Rafi Hofstein arrived in Canada a year ago, after serving as CEO of Hadasit, Hadassah Hospital’s technology transfer company, for 10 years. He was chosen out of 400 candidates to serve as CEO and President of Mars Innovation, a non-profit organization which represents collaboration between 14 leading academic institutions in Toronto, and aimed at supporting the process of translating scientific discoveries to business products. He was invited to participate in the recent Ontario mission to Israel, aimed at promoting cooperation in the scientific and medical fields.

 

“The main part of our visit was an event in which an announcement was made that Teva Israel would invest $56 million in Teva Canada, while the Ontario Government promised an addition $5 million,” said Hofstein. During the visit to Israel, the delegation toured the Tel Hashomer Hospital, and the visitors were split up according to areas of interest.  A second tour took place in Hadassah Hospital. “The visit to one of Teva’s leading factories in Jerusalem was impressive. The factory is very technologically advanced.”

 

Meetings Between Companies

 

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Premier Dalton McGuinty and the leading Parliament members of the delegation. “My part was primarily to focus on the delegation was the meetings between companies, which is a subject generally taken care of in a less professional manner. Therefore, we started the second day with a panel hosted by me, regarding the abilities of Canada and Israel in the entrepreneurship field. Aharon Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Teva, and Ms. Roni Reiber of the Israel Chamber of Commerce, who specializes in medical instruments, both lectured at the panel and then we were on our way,” said Hofstein. For two days, at predetermined hours, the meeting hall was open for meetings between relevant Israeli and Canadian companies. “The hall looked like a beehive during the negotiations,” described Hofstein. “People met other people all the time.” Large tables were set up in the hall and each table was dedicated to a Canadian company who wanted to meet Israelis who might be interested. A follow-up meeting is planned for next spring in the fields of medical equipment and diagnostics, initiated by the University of Toronto, Tel Aviv University, and Mars Innovation.

 

One of the leading examples of the success of the cooperation so far, is the establishing of the simulation centre at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital. “Tel Hashomer Hospital has a similar simulation system and Sick Kids established their model based on Tel Hashomer’s model,” said Hofstein. When asked about directions that R&D will take in coming years, he estimates that during the next few years the focus will be on brain research. “We’ve identified the relevant players in Israel and we’re going to match them with the appropriate companies in Ontario.”

 

Office of a Chief Scientist in Canada

 

Related articles: (Rafi Hofstein, Ontario Israel Mission, Dalton McGuinty)
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