Bird foundation invests $7.5 million in 9 new Israeli-US projects

28 June, 2016

The Israel-US research and development fund chose 9 bi-national projects in the areas of agrotechnology, biotechnology, digital healthcare, UAV collision avoidance and others

The Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development BIRD Foundation approved $7.5 million in funding for nine new projects between U.S. and Israeli companies. In addition to the grants from the Israel-US fund, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of all projects to approximately $21.5 million.

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation

Amongst the approved projects are: Cellect Biotechnology (Kfar Sava, Israel) and Entegris (Billerica, MA): Improved stem  cells selection system; Evogene (Rehovot, Israel) and Arcadia Biosciences (Davis, CA): Novel drought tolerant wheat varieties; File X (Ness Ziona, Israel) and Brimrose (Sparks, MD): Real-Time AOTF-based hyperspectral imaging system for pollution detection; Hinoman (Or Yehuda, Israel) and Benchmark Biolabs (Lincoln, NE): Vaccine for Newcastle virus disease from aquatic plants source; Israel Aerospace Industries (Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel) and Honeywell (Morris Plains, NJ): Sense and Avoid for UAVs; Kamada (Ness Ziona, Israel) and Baxalta (Bannockburn, IL): Treatment for prevention of lung transplant rejection; Keystone Heart (Caesarea Business Park, Israel) and SurModics (Eden Prairie, MN): Novel medical device for cerebral protection during cardiovascular procedures; MedAware (Raanana, Israel) and Becton Dickinson (Franklin Lakes, NJ): Prescription Error Surveillance and Mellanox (Yokneam, Israel) and Chromis Fiberoptics (Warren, NJ): Polymer Optical Fibers for data centers.

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said: “The broad range of U.S. and Israeli companies that approach the BIRD Foundation for support and R&D risk reduction is impressive. They include large multinationals as well as smaller companies seeking synergistic alliances to achieve excellence in innovation and commercialization.”

39 years, 931 projects

The BIRD foundation is a bi-national fund working to encourage and facilitate cooperation between U.S and Israeli companies in a wide range of technology sectors and offers funding to selected projects, as well as assistance in location of strategic partners from both countries. The fund was founded in 1977 by U.S and Israeli governments in an effort to expand the technological and economic cooperation between the two nations.

The fund’s history reflects changes in technological trends along the years. While in its first years, the BIRD fund backed mostly software and defense related projects, today it is much more diverse, backing projects in fields such as agrotechnology, biotechnology and renewable energy – as can be seen in the current crop of new projects.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the project itself. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of technology products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides support of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.

The 9 new project approved by BIRD’s board of governors join 931 projects backed by the fund in its 39 years of activity. To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint projects has been over $330 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.

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