Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca has announced this week that it is launching an initiative that will see the company invest in Israel’s growing digital health space.
Called BeyondBio, the scheme follows a memorandum of understanding for investment in Israel signed earlier this year by AstraZeneca and the Israel Innovation Authority.
According to a press statement, the first investment is said to be around 10m shekels (approx. £2.2m).
The programme is based on a strategic partnership between AstraZeneca, Jerusalem Venture Partners, the Israel National Initiative Association, the Maccabitech research institute, the Sagol Fund, Microsoft and Israeli entrepreneur Morris Kahn.
Their lead project, titled PLAY BeyondBio, will help startups identify and create products that address key challenges facing healthcare.
Through BeyondBio, AstraZeneca has also partnered with Sheba Medical Center’s new ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) Innovation Center, where it will reportedly provide R&D support.
THE LARGER TREND
Israel’s digital health scene has been drawing the attention of investors and other stakeholders for a while now. A recent study from Start-Up Nation Central identified around 540 digital health companies in the country, and the Sheba Medical Center was recognised by Newsweek as one of the world’s top 10 hospitals.
Ohad Goldberg, CEO of AstraZeneca Israel, said the programme was created “as a result of the recognition Israel receives as an up-and-coming global force in the innovation and digital health fields”.
Earlier this year, MobiHealthNews wrote about Israel’s billion-shekel bet on digital health, providers’ approach to bringing in innovation, and a partnership with Finland, another country that is carving out a strong spot in the global digital health arena.
But this is not the only new digital initiative for AstraZeneca. At the beginning of this month, the company announced plans to create an AI Innovation Center in Shanghai.
ON THE RECORD
“BeyondBio is an important addition to the global effort towards innovation by AstraZeneca, with unique projects in China, Brazil and across Europe,” Iskra Reic, AstraZeneca executive VP for Europe and Canada, said in a statement. “This is a combined effort of research and development, digital and marketing that come together to support our strategy of improving patient health and wellbeing around the world.”