New technologies are powering wave of products in Israel

By Alfred Romann, Staff Writer                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


TEL AVIV, Israel – Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are combining with e-health technologies, big data and a growing dose of innovation to produce technologies that could add value and cut costs in the health care process while facilitating the development of new products and services.

The efforts to combine these new technologies, which is particularly visible in Israel’s hyper-entrepreneurial med-tech ecosystem, was a key theme of this week’s MIXiii Biomed 2017 conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In Israel, companies that range from the largest tech multinationals such as Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, to the more traditional med-tech companies like Dublin-based Medtronic plc and big pharmas like Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and down the chain to the smallest innovative start ups are looking for ways to make the leap from technology to health care. Many of these efforts are focused on continuing the progress towards more personalized medicine.

Speakers and exhibitors at MIXiii Biomed spent a fair amount of time discussing how new technologies can help with the development of new med tech and how the massive amounts of data available is powering this trend.

“The rate of health care data is now doubling every 73 days,” said Deborah DiSanzo, General Manager at IBM Watson Health in a keynote speech during which she highlighted both the challenge and opportunity that lays ahead for companies.

IBM, a global company, is taking a “moonshot” with its cognitive IBM Watson system, which it describes as augmented intelligence. Working on top of the IBM cloud, Watson gather as much data as it can from sources ranging from health records to research, including more than 100 million patient records, more than 2 billion social determinants of health (including diet, exercise information and more), as well as 40 million research documents.

Added to that, by 2050 there will be more than 2 billion people over the age of 60, who live healthier and longer lives but may suffer from chronic conditions. By IBM’s estimates, the cost of dealing with chronic diseases will top $47 trillion between 2011 and 2030. The enormous amount of data could be a powerful driver of health care innovation.

Taking the same approach but with a much narrower lens is the three-year-old Isreaeli company Data2life, which uses a wide range of data from health records to social media to generate analysis and insights. Data2life has gathered information with data from more than 50 million people in the U.S. and more than 5.5 million in Israel and it is only just getting started, and is being helped along by the trend towards using more real world evidence in proving the efficacy of devices and drugs.

“We built a platform to analyze and make sense of it,” co-founder Limor Epstein told Medical Device Daily. “It was not a classic start up in that we… saw a concrete problem that we wanted to solve.”

It makes sense that the company evolved in Israel, where patient records have been digitized and centralized since the 1990s. The U.S. data, by comparison, only tracks about eight years and is often affected by the fact that people change health care providers often.

This focus on leveraging technology and data into practical applications has become systemic, at least in Israel.

Making this point is the launch of Mindup, a year-old incubator. CEO Dan Shwarzman said Mindup is focused strictly on turning digital health “projects” into viable businesses. One company is already going through the two-year incubation process. Two more have been approved and four others are being considered. Mindup has some heavy backing from IBM, Medtronic, Pitango, Ramban and Impact First Investments.

“These partners came together to fund Mindup to access technologies,” Shwarzman told Medical Device Daily.

“At some point there will be some disillusionment about what actually works and what is an app and will stay an app,” said Mindup’s Vice President of Business Development Lior Teitelbaum.

“It has become more defined,” said Shwarzman. “What does this definition mean? The expectations are better defined. The acceptance is more defined, what is your criteria for accepting?

Your willingness to try is better defined… It is much more defined in good patient experience and good customer experience.”

At the end of the day, all this innovation has to have a practical application that adds value to the health care process.

“You are seeing technology evolve, technology become more mature. Technology improves and allows much more every day,” said Shwarzman.

Source: Medtech Insight