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June 4, 2021 9:10 am

Israel’s PlayBeyondBio Begins Second Cohort Looking for Health Solutions in a Post-COVID World

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avatar by James Spiro / CTech

A teenager receives a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

CTech – Applications for the second cohort of PlayBeyondBio are underway, helping identify companies that are developing technologies and tools to improve the prediction and diagnosis of diseases faced by health systems. The collaborative initiative is being led by the British-Swedish pharma giant, AstraZeneca, the VC fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), consulting firm Accenture, and Margalit Startup City Community, in partnership with Amazon AWS and the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The application process will run until June 18, and eight Israeli startups who are operating in the field of digital health will ultimately be selected to take part. Those accepted will be exposed to mentorship programs, a network of partners and health systems, as well as pilots and investments. The goal is to create a fast-track for advancing the companies’ ability to commercialize their products with the help of the program’s partners.

“The future of the healthcare system is data-based medicine across all areas, from prediction and diagnosis of diseases through discovering new drugs and more effective treatments,” said Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP and Margalit Startup City. “This is a field with huge potential for advanced technologies that combine AI, machine learning, remote sensors, and image processing. This is a real revolution and Israeli innovation has the chance to be a leader in this new era, starting today.”

The initiative was launched last year at the peak of the pandemic. PlayBeyondBio2020 saw nine startups selected from 100 applicants and this year expects to continue the efforts made by young companies to use technology, information systems, and databases to detect and diagnose diseases by leveraging data and advanced analytics.

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“Over the past few years, disease prediction and early diagnoses are increasing in importance owing to their ability to positively influence treatment prognosis,” explained Ohad Goldberg, company president of AstraZeneca Israel. “As such, at AstraZeneca in general, and at the company’s Israeli offices specifically, we’ve decided to invest in a multitude of efforts geared towards providing health systems with better tools.”

Shimon Elkabetz, Accenture Israel’s country managing director added: “I have no doubt that this partnership, which puts Israeli entrepreneurs and the groundbreaking technologies created here at center stage, will serve as a fruitful launchpad for revolutionary medical solutions that will help patients in Israel and around the world, and will improve their quality of life.”

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