A team from Israel Brain Technologies (IBT) recently visited Geneva, where hundreds of millions of Euros are being directed to neuroscience, and creating an international braintech hub with tremendous promise.
Geneva is transforming into a powerful center for brain research and innovation, presenting a unique opportunity for cooperation with IBT. This is the assessment of Rotem Kopel, an experienced engineer now completing a PhD in neuroscience, who has joined the IBT team to lead its European outreach activity. “Two of the most ambitious international projects in the braintech arena – the Human Brain Project and the Blue Brain Project – are headquartered in Geneva. Geneva is also home to a great number of VCs and banks, a large medical industry, NGOs and international organizations like the World Economic Forum and World Health Organization, as well as an active Jewish community,” says Kopel. All of these make it an epicenter for potential cooperation with IBT.
Kopel recently hosted IBT’s Executive Director Miri Polachek, and Dr. Iris Geffen Gloor, who chairs the program of BrainTech Israel 2017 (IBT’s international braintech conference coming up in March 2017) in Geneva for a series of meetings. There were meetings held with the Wyss Center, Campus BioTech, Merck Group, EndeavourVision, leading scientists from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Blue Brain Project (BBP), reflecting the diversity of Geneva’s ecosystem of research centers, academia, investors, industry and NGOs.
The Wyss family donated $250M to found the Wyss Center, which mission is the translation of neuroscience research into practice. The Wyss Center is managed under the umbrella of the Campus Biotech Consortium, and has been able to draw the neuroscience research departments from EPFL and Geneva University into its new state-of-the-art center.
“Our relationship with the Wyss Center team goes back years,” explains Miri Polachek. “In fact Dr. John Donaghue, who currently serves as Director at the Wyss Center, led the BrainsGate team who won the prestigious $1 M B.R.A.I.N. prize at the first Israel BrainTech event in 2013, for their work in the improving our understanding of human brain function, and helping disabled people by creating robotic and prosthetic arms controlled by implanted neural sensors.”
The goals of the visit were manifold, and included forging relationships to develop partnership opportunities, and fundraising for IBT. Another goal focused on IBT’s biannual flagship event, the BrainTech conference, which will take place March 2017 in Tel Aviv.
Dr. Iris Geffen Gloor, who is heading the planning of BrainTech 2017, updated on the developments: “In Geneva we had the opportunity to meet with Sven Lingjaerde, Managing Partner at EndeavourVision, one of the biggest VC’s active in the medical devices arena, which has raised over $250M in its last round. They are interested in entering the braintech arena and are planning to head a large delegation from Geneva to the Israel BrainTech 2017.” Another meeting was held with Prof. Henry Markam, an international neurotech expert, and Director at the Blue Brain Project. “We are pleased that Prof. Markam has agreed to speak at Israel BrainTech 2017, and share the latest on these important projects with the event’s participants,” concluded Geffen Gloor.