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Not long ago, macular degeneration, a disease of the retina, meant certain blindness. But scientists are working on an implantable artificial retina that can, with a simple surgical procedure, restore eyesight.
Other implantable devices are being developed to monitor glucose, treat heart failure and relieve pain. Indeed, overweight patients could one day swallow an ingestible hydrogel capsule that induces satiety and results in less food consumption, thereby avoiding the risk of bariatric surgery.
These devices, which once may have seemed like science fiction, are now being developed by such companies as Nano-Retina, GluSense, Enospace and Lotus.
According to its website (www.rainbowmd.com), Rainbow Medical "seeds and grows companies developing breakthrough medical devices invented by Yossi Gross in a diverse range of medical fields."
Gross, who has filed more than 500 U.S. patents for his inventions, partnered with Cohen Arazi, Rainbow Medical's CEO. The two decided to coordinate their efforts, "after considering how Israel's talented labor pool, cost efficiency and worldwide reputation for med-tech innovation could facilitate the realization of Yossi's multiple medical device concepts," as Cohen Arazi stated.
The many devices developed as a result not only save lives but offer sound investment possibilities, they claim. As the population ages and life-spans increase, medical devices are in greater demand. Furthermore, the coordination of efforts by the variety of companies in Rainbow's portfolio means lower overall costs, more focus on invention and faster development time.
Although originating in Israel, the company is international in scope with investors in the United States, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom, with plans to create new companies, based upon Gross's ideas.
"We expect to establish ourselves as a leading supplier of innovative technologies to the world's largest medical device companies," says Cohen Arazi.
The presentation at Wharton, much like the company itself, grew from a cooperative effort. It was co-sponsored by the Wharton Health Care Club, the Penn Biotech Group, Engineering Entrepreneurship, the Innovative Fund of the Weiss Tech House, the Wharton Israel Club and Penn Friends of Israel in conjunction with Hillel -- with MentorTech Ventures initiating and coordinating the program.
Hosted by the Jewish Heritage Program, affiliated with the Lubavitch House at Penn, the presentation drew co-sponsors "not just from the Jewish community who would come out and support Israeli entrepreneurs," said Adam Wachs, a Wharton freshman from Lower Merion, but by others "interested in the field."
Said Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, executive director of the Lubavitch House at the University of Pennsylvania, the object in all this is to "show how much Israel has to offer the world, to make people aware of the companies and life-saving discoveries that come from there," and so make a case for preserving its safety.
Wachs agrees, noting that "I personally thought it was special and rewarding that in response to the anti-Israel BDS conference on campus" held at Penn the same weekend, "we were able to respond by showing the greater community what amazing and tremendous contributions the small country of Israel is giving to the world."