REHOVOT /Massachusetts Newswire/ — As part of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy Partnership Mission 2011, Governor Deval Patrick today visited the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel to discuss plans to cultivate new investment and partnerships between the Massachusetts and Israeli life sciences sectors. During his visit, Governor Patrick hosted a Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Economy Forum on the life sciences and met with researchers, technicians, and industry leaders at the Weizmann Institute, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions.

“Like Massachusetts, Israel boasts a thriving life sciences sector, and the opportunities for collaboration and investment are significant,” said Governor Patrick. “We are using this trip to expand our ties and explore new opportunities for investment and job growth.”

Governor Patrick was joined by his life sciences delegation, a coalition of leaders from Israel and Massachusetts committed to expanding job growth opportunities in the innovation industries, including the life sciences. During the trip, the delegation will also travel to Haifa and Jerusalem and meet with business leaders in the Israeli life sciences sector, including officials from Teva Pharmaceuticals.

“Massachusetts and Israel are world-renowned forces in the life sciences and today’s discussion focused on ways we can bolster our common strengths,” said Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development. “International collaboration in investment, research, product development and trade will be key as we create jobs and propel the Commonwealth’s innovation economy forward.”

“Massachusetts is a global leader in the life sciences, but if we want to maintain that status we need to engage globally with other leaders in these sectors,” said delegation member Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “Israel is an important trading partner for Massachusetts, and a leader in the life sciences with well-established industry clusters in biotechology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. I look forward to building relationships on this trip that will pay off for the Commonwealth in the areas of shared research, industrial partnerships, collaborative investment and, ultimately, job growth and scientific discovery.”

“Israel is a powerhouse of innovation and intellectual properly” said Dr. Ido Schoenberg, Chairman and CEO of American Well Corporation. American Well provides an on-line care system that allows patients to connect with physicians immediately. “In today’s reality, it is not enough to come up with great ideas and develop highly competitive products. We now compete in sophisticated markets and need to create collaborations in order to succeed. The strong response to Governor¹s Patrick Life Sciences Initiative by leaders of Israel’s life sciences and other industries is very encouraging. As proud Israelis and U.S. residents that have built three companies that are based in Massachusetts, we are familiar with the natural affinity between both communities. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership and vision — It is timely and important.”

The visit builds on existing collaborations between Massachusetts and Israel in the life sciences, including the two-day life sciences summit that was conducted last fall at Brandeis University sponsored by the New England/Israel Business Council and co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Fourteen Israeli companies participated in this forum, and more than 70 one-on-one meetings took place between these companies and potential partners in Massachusetts and the New England region.

Massachusetts has become a world leader in the life sciences and the industries of tomorrow by investing in education, infrastructure and making targeted investments to support innovation industries. Over 80,000 Massachusetts employees work in the life sciences, and medical devices are Massachusetts’ number one export. The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Life Sciences Initiative, a $1 billion, ten-year commitment to strengthen the Bay State’s position as an international hub for bio-tech and the life sciences, is a critical piece of this strategy.

Today there are nearly 100 companies with Israeli founders or Israeli-licensed technologies in Massachusetts. In 2009, these companies employed nearly 6,000 people and generated $2.4 billion in direct revenue for the state. Local firms exported over $180 million worth of goods to Israel in 2009 and, at 12.35 percent, the United States is Israel’s largest source of imports. An important market for health-related technologies, Israel is home to 377 hospitals, and 37,000 practicing physicians.

The Massachusetts Innovation Economy Partnership Mission 2011 is focusing on business expansion, job growth and collaboration during industry forums, company visits and meetings with Israeli and U.K. business leaders and government officials in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, London and Cambridge. The Massachusetts delegation arrived in Israel on March 7th, and will depart the United Kingdom on March 17th to return to Boston.

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