Israel's biotechnology industry is relatively new and an offspring
of its American counterpart. Its creation in the late 1960s resulted
from the establishment in Israel of subsidiaries of foreign pharmaceutical
companies. The first of these was a subsidiary formed by Miles
Laboratories with the Weizmann Institute of Technology, called
Miles-Yeda. This was followed by the Hebrew University-Weizmann
Institute subsidiary, Ames-Yissum. Over time, these firms became
wholly Israeli-owned entities. Gradually, foreign venture capitalists
began to initiate other independent biotechnology entities in
Israel. As of the early 1980s, Israeli venture capitalists had
begun creating their own science-based entities.
Many economists call biotechnology a "natural" Israeli industry.
Its primary input has been data from research and university laboratories.
The only other major ingredient has been American capital to support
research and development activity. The main areas of research
in the mid-1980s included genetic engineering, human and animal
diagnostics, agricultural biofertilization, and aquatic biotechnology.
Data as of December 1988