Israeli Biotech Abides Amid Bombings

When Tamir Huberman completed his degree in electrical engineering from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1996, most of his fellow students were seeking work for telecom startups or dot-com firms, both exploding growth areas in Israel. Huberman instead chose to work for Medis Technologies, a small biotech company developing a lab-on-a-chip product. "Most of my friends said I was crazy, that I was missing the new economy," says Huberman, now a vice president of research at Medis. "Now most

Sam Jaffe
Jan 26, 2003

When Tamir Huberman completed his degree in electrical engineering from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1996, most of his fellow students were seeking work for telecom startups or dot-com firms, both exploding growth areas in Israel. Huberman instead chose to work for Medis Technologies, a small biotech company developing a lab-on-a-chip product. "Most of my friends said I was crazy, that I was missing the new economy," says Huberman, now a vice president of research at Medis. "Now most of them are out of work."

Biotechnology is indeed a growth industry in Israel. Thanks to seven world-class universities, a growing venture capital community, and a large pool of scientists and technicians--many of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union--the country is undergoing a mini-boom in biotech. In 2001 160 Israeli companies employing more than 4,000 people produced more than $800 million (US) in revenue, according to the Ministry of...

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