“The strong pharmaceutical arena in Sweden, and Israel’s strong tech, are a perfect match.”
Jerusalem Venture Partners and the Cambridge, UK-based English-Swedish pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca plc signed a cooperation agreement on Tuesday to identify, develop and invest in digital health in Israel.
“The strong pharmaceutical arena in Sweden, and Israel’s strong tech, are a perfect match,” said Magnus Bjorsne, CEO of BioVentureHub, AstraZeneca’s innovation initiative.
Bjorsne spoke to The Jerusalem Post while in Israel for a ceremony kicking off the partnership, which the group is calling BeyondBio.
Six months ago, Bjorsne explained, AstraZeneca and the Israel Innovation Authority signed a memorandum of understanding for investment in Israel. The first investment by AstraZeneca is estimated to be about NIS 10 million.
Additionally, AstraZeneca and JVP will provide support to Israeli start-up companies providing direct access to databases and leading academic research institutes in the field of digital health. A release explained that the program’s flagship project, “PLAY BeyondBio,” is meant to develop and promote start-ups in the digital health field in order to locate and create ground-breaking solutions that provide technological answers to the most pressing challenges and problems that the industry currently copes with.
Bjorsne said that the hope is that the partnership will help develop add-ons to make existing products better as well as ideas to make clinical trials less expensive so that drugs can get on the market and to the patient faster. He also said that the company hopes to incorporate some of Israel’s technologies into its own innovation process.
He noted that over the last few years, the combination of healthcare and technology has become a substantial and important engine for growth in the health industry worldwide, and the method through which medical disorders are identified and tools developed to improve patient treatment. Moreover, Bjorsne said that healthcare in general is undergoing a shift from a focus on “sick care to healthcare, and we will want it to be more patient focused. That drives innovation.”