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Significant rise in number of registered patents, but majority of income from pharmaceuticals

August 26, 2014

The number of registered patents won by Israeli research institutions rose by an impressive 20 percent in 2012-2013 compared to the previous two years, the Science, Technology and Space Ministry disclosed on Tuesday. The field with the most innovations was prescription drugs.


A survey by the ministry's National Council for Research and Development found that 1,438 patents were registered -- 1,000 of them completely new (not registered before in other countries. The innovations led to the founding of 72 startup companies here in the last two years. The patents were earned by university research and development companies, hospitals and state-owned research institutes.


The university R&D companies specialized mostly in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals,. physics, electronics, electrophysics, chemistry and nanotechnology. In the hospitals, the main innovations were in medical technology, while they were in agriculture and plant genetics in the government research institutes. In 2012 and 2013, a total of 967 applications for new patents were made.


Although the increase in registered patents was welcomed by the national council, "there still is a major gap between the many academic achievements in Israeli research institutes and the economic and application potential of knowhow, said Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri. "We are working with a lot of energy to reduce the gaps and increase government investment in applied research.


While intellectual property in medications is prominent when measured by earnings, national council chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, it must be remembered that the high income from them are from a small number of successful drugs such as Copaxone (for multiple sclerosis) and Exelon for Alzheimer's disease. "If we don't increase our investments to bring about more developments in additional critical fields, industry will suffer harm in the near future and merely stand in place," he added.


Income from Israeli intellectual property in 2012-2013 totaled NIS 1,881 million. Israeli-invented drugs constituted 97% of this income, compared to only 3% from innovations in physics, electronics, mathematics and electrooptics.


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Source: Jerusalem Post (Israel)

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