The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce hosted a presentation by Professor Eyal Mishani, Head of the Research and Development Division of the Hadassah Medical Organization, at the University of Technology Sydney Business School on 10 October 2017. The event was introduced by Professor Roy Green, outgoing Dean of UTS Business School, and Michelle Blum, Chief Executive of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
Professor Mishani presented to representatives from a range of Australian medical, academic, and business organisations about key developments Hadassah and the Israeli medical research community are making in medical innovation and the commercialisation of medical research and development.
Hadassah is a world-class patient-centred integrated academic medical hospital. It currently has more than 300 active scientific projects including advanced molecular imaging, stem cell therapy, preventative treatment for melanoma, skeletal tissue regeneration, and medical innovation in combating obesity. The hospital is responsible for more than 50 percent of basic hospital research in Israel and is a leading contributor to global medical research. Israeli medical researchers filed over 6,671 patent applications between 2007 and 2015, and Israel is one of the top five countries globally for medical patents.
Professor Mishani emphasised Hadassah and Israel’s wider focus on commercialising medical research, stressing the importance of developing and protecting intellectual property, and noting that Australian medical researchers are responsible for many scientific publications, but not nearly as many patents.
At Hadassah, medical researchers are encouraged to apply for competitive grants once they have enough data from their projects. The hospital also has a dedicated internal unit, the Technology Transfer Office, staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts which works with the hospital’s researchers to commercialise the research undertaken. The hospital’s commercial activities comprise a mix of royalty agreements and shares in start-ups.
Professor Mishani commented that he believed that Australian medical research could more effectively be translated into commercial outcomes and clinical practice by greater collaboration between his hospital, the wider Israeli medical research community, and their Australian counterparts. Hadassah has existing relationships with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia, and Professor Mishani was optimistic about the prospects for additional collaboration.
He also emphasised the importance of personal connections, stating that “fruitful collaboration starts when there is a chemistry between the collaborators”, and that he was keen to encourage short exchanges between the two countries’ medical researchers. “The name of the game is to make the connection, and find the mechanism to support the collaboration,” he said.