Israel Biomed 2019-the high-social, low stress STEM conference
Impressions from Biomed 2019 in Tel Aviv
This week was the annual 3 day Biomed/MIXiii (I have no idea what MIXiii means btw) conference in Tel Aviv. The organizers also billed it as the “18th National Life Science and Technology Week” (which I also do not know what that means). This was a particular difficult time for a conference of medical device and pharma in Tel Aviv since it coincided with the Eurovision 2019 activities – and the traffic was tough.
There were a huge number of lectures and participants from all over the world and I suppose from that perspective, the conference is a success and tribute to the burgeoning Israeli biomed industry. Forbes calls Biomed “The High-Paying, Low-Stress STEM Job You Probably Haven’t Considered”. I think that this is probably a good description for the conference – high participation but low stress.
My colleagues and I come to the conference to network, schmooze, meet customers and suppliers. It’s a good opportunity to take a few meetings, say hi to friends and hustle for new business. Having said that, I did meet a few really interesting companies:
RCRI – is a Minneapolis MN based medical device CRO. I met Todd Anderson and his boss Lisa Olson and pitched our approach for fast data in clinical trials to assure high levels of patient compliance to the protocol and submit faster to FDA. Todd and Lisa get it and they were open about the CRO business model being more people-hours not speed. They seemed genuinely interested in what we are working on but its hard to tell with Americans.
Docdok Health – is a startup founded by Yves Nordman, who is a Swiss MD living in Carmiel. It’s a doctor-patient communications platform beginning to branch out into Post-marketing studies with RWD. We shared demos and it seems that there is synergy between our regulatory platform and their post-marketing work.
Resbiomed – met Alex Angelov, the CEO. Alex is leading a consortium including Flaskdata, Carl Zeiss, Collplant, PreciseBio and Pluristem for a Horizon2020 submission for an amazing project for an implant to the cornea. Dan Peres from Pluristem got us together. Cheer for us!
BSP Medical and ICB (Israel China Biotech investment) – my buddy Hadas Kligman literally took me by hand to visit to Yehuda Bruner and Andrew Zhang and I did my 60s elevator pitch on getting medical device companies to FDA/CFDA 6-12 months faster. We agree to talk after the conference.
Butterfly Medical – I met Idan Geva, the CEO last year at Biomed – we ate lunch at the same table. I pitched him but he was uninterested – they were using EDC2Go – and he didn’t want to hear other options. At the Minnesota pavilion talking to Todd Anderson from RCRI, Idan shows up and looks at me and says “Heah – Hi Danny – I left a contact me request on your web site yesterday and no one got back to me. I said shame on us. He says – he was referred to us by someone from Florida who used to use Medidata. I asked where/who? was it Miami? He says yeah it was Miami and checks his phone – says its someone from Precision Clinical Research that are using Flaskdata and recommended. (Precision is one of our customer’s Miami sites). I asked what happened to EDC2Go – he said well you know – they are end of life (I think this means the end of low-cost EDC) and we are now entering questionnaires manually on paper and it is driving us crazy. He said – can you stick around and give us a demo at 15:00? I said sure. We met at 15:00 by the bar upstairs in the David Intercontinental and I demoed the system – he said “Show me the Forms designer”. I showed him. He says “show me how CRC enters data” – I showed him. He says “Show me how to extract data” – I showed him. I think he actually did not believe how fast the Extract to CSV process was and asked me twice if that was the data. In the end – the format of Mac Numbers was a bit strange for him. I showed him a quick presentation – and he saw that Serenno is a customer – and says – “Heah Tomer is a neighbor of ours in the incubator in Yokneam”. He asked how much and I said $2K for a basic onboarding package and $1500 / month. Or $10K and we will build the CRF (their CRF is super simple btw). He wanted a discount, being Israeli. I said – “lets meet with your clinical person and get her to buy-in to the solution. If she buys in – you and I can talk business but before that, there is no point horse-trading.
Count the probabilities of this happening and you will see that it is an impossible event.
Thursday I went back to demo Todd and meet Dr Yael Hayun from Syqe Medical. Yael is one of the most impressive people I’ve met in a long time. She is an MD from Hadassah and one of the movers and shakers in LogicBio Therapeutics. After we chatted – I told her that Syqe is lucky to have her onboard. I did our Today is about Speed presentation and a short demo. She was suitably impressed and then mentioned they had met with a Danish EDC company called Smart Trial – which turns out is yet another low-cost eCRF provider. I said look – eCRF is like 10% of the solution you need – in the case of Syqe, you have a digital inhaler and with cannabis, you are going to have a lot of concerns about patient compliance.
This is what we do – fast data collection from patients, investigators and digital inhalers and automated deviation detection and response.
On the way back – huge traffic from Eurovision. Didn’t hear a single lecture but the meetings and people were outstanding.