Connecting University of Pittsburgh Graduate Students with Israeli Innovation

By Elliot Dater

I am currently in Israel with the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business Israel Global Research Practicum, which I am co-teaching with Professor Paul Harper, PhD. We are joined by Jacqueline Saslawski, Esq., PMIA, managing director of the Katz International Business Center. Fifteen graduate students are taking part in the practicum, including students from the Katz MBA program, the School of Law and the School of Engineering.

In this course, we are focusing on Israel as a center of global innovation.  We combine the academic study of entrepreneurship and the study of the factors that have helped Israel become a leading center for technology innovation.  In addition to the study of entrepreneurship, we are looking at industries where recent innovation is playing a significant role in both Pittsburgh and Israel, namely energy.  We believe that the development of the Marcellus Shale in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the offshore gas reserves in the Mediterranean provide overlapping fields of entrepreneurship and innovation that connect Israel and Pittsburgh.

After landing in Tel Aviv Saturday afternoon, we kicked off the visit with a festive welcome dinner featuring Katz alumna, Shahar Caro Herling, Adv., LLM, who is in the legal department of Afcon Holdings, and Ilan Cohn, senior partner at the Reinhold Cohn Group, Israel’s leading intellectual property firm.

Today was the first day of our one-week visit to Israel during which our students have a full schedule of meetings with Israeli innovators, investors, and leading academic institutions.  Today’s meetings ranged from IBR – Israeli Biotechnology Research Ltd., a small privately held company that develops, produces and sells natural, non-toxic active ingredients for the cosmetics, food and nutraceutical industries, to Elbit Systems, Ltd., Israel’s largest non-governmental defense electronics company, to Clal Biotechnology Industries, Ltd., Israel’s largest investment fund devoted to life sciences and drug discovery.

I was happy to be able to connect these companies with our students and have their representatives interact and share experiences.

Ruben Krupick, CEO of Clal Biotechnology Industries also shared his experiences in creating and managing Rafael Development Corporation, which was founded with the purpose of commercializing military technologies developed by Rafael Armaments for the civilian market. This was especially interesting for our students as they had studied Rafael Development Corporation and this gave them the opportunity to hear more about the history of that company straight from its founder.

Our students will have the opportunity to meet and learn about more Israeli innovation throughout this week.  Hopefully, these meetings will provide our students with good ideas for the final projects they will be working on in a few weeks.  The final project for this class will be innovative in and of itself, but more on that later.

Elliot Dater is a partner in Schnader’s Business Services Department,  and represents Israeli companies doing business in the United States and U.S. companies and investors doing business in Israel, as well as emerging growth companies in the technology and medical device industries

The materials posted on Schnader.com and SchnaderPittIsrael.com are prepared for informational purposes only and should not be considered as providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. Please see our disclaimer page for a full explanation.

Recent Pittsburgh-Israel crossovers

By Elliot Dater

Although the blog has been quiet the last couple of months, many exciting things have been happening.

In November, I had the opportunity to teach Law & Entrepreneurship to law students at the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, Israel. Through this course, I taught my students about the legal issues involved in guiding a technology start-up through its life cycle – from idea to an exit. Given the fact that Israel is known as “Start-up Nation” or the “Silicon Wadi,” the students had great familiarity with start-ups in general and were enthusiastic and engaged in learning about the legal issues for these types of companies in the United States. The students were especially interested when I discussed Israeli companies that had success in Pittsburgh, such as dbMotion. Their final project was to prepare a client memorandum in English.  I was pleasantly surprised at both the level of analysis and application of the law, as well the level of writing, given that English was the second (or third) language of most students.  I hope to repeat this experience and further strengthen ties between the College of Law and Business and the University of Pittsburgh Law School.

In December, UPMC and Schnader sponsored a Pittsburgh visit by the Israeli Medical Device and Life Sciences Road Show at UPMC’s Center for Connected Medicine. The Road Show featured six Israeli medical device and life sciences companies from Israel’s incubator system.

  • Agam Biological has developed products based on jelly fish-derived collagens for a wide range of medical, nutritional and cosmetic applications.
  • Discover Medical Devices has developed a medical necessity sleep mask for patients that have both sleep apnea and heart failure.
  • Inovytec has developed a non-invasive life saving solution to increase survivability of patients suffering cardiac or respiratory emergencies in out of hospital environments.
  • Premia Spine has developed a motion implement intended to replace traditional spinal fusion surgery for patients with spinal stenosis other lower back maladies.
  • Bio GenCell is developing a technology platform for automated production of patient specific stem cell based therapies.
  • TenCure is developing revolutionary cancer therapies based on a newly described mechanism of action .

These companies presented their innovative technologies and products to a room full of local investors as well as visiting investors from Cincinnati and Cleveland. Local participants included the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Innovation Works, Mutual Capital Partners Funds, Woodland Family Partners, FCC Capital, Blue Tree Allied Angel Investors, Draper Triangle Ventures, UPMC’s Center for Innovation in Regenerative Medicine as well as representatives of local and state government.  We hope that this is the first of many of this type of events that will provide opportunities to link Israel and Pittsburgh on a business basis.  There is already talk of a future Healthcare IT Roadshow.  Stay tuned.

Elliot Dater is a partner in Schnader’s Business Services Department,  and represents Israeli companies doing business in the United States and U.S. companies and investors doing business in Israel, as well as emerging growth companies in the technology and medical device industries

The materials posted on Schnader.com and SchnaderPittIsrael.com are prepared for informational purposes only and should not be considered as providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. Please see our disclaimer page for a full explanation.