Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  20 / 74 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 20 / 74 Next Page
Page Background

Opinion Articles

High-Tech & Technology -






Opinion Article


n the third millennium, humankind is fac-

ing many challenges related to the aging of

the global population. The common Jewish

blessing, “may you live to be 120”, might soon

become a reality for a growing number of peo-

ple. However, in order to prevent the blessing of

longevity from becoming a curse, governments

and societies must find solutions for rapidly

emerging aging-related challenges in areas such

as medicine, retirement financing, food produc-

tion, and environmental protection, which could

threaten humankind if they are ignored.

Advances in modern medicine have led to

a dramatic increase in the human lifespan.

Although most babies born in 1900 did not

live past age 50, life expectancy at birth is at

least 81 years in several developed countries.

The number of people aged 65 or older is pro-

jected to grow from an estimated 524 million

in 2010 to nearly 1.5 billion in 2050, accom-

panied by a 1000% increase in the number

of centenarians.

A critical question is whether healthcare sys-

tems will be able to cover the increasing costs

of caring for the elderly. As the need grows

for medicines to treat chronic conditions and

expensive medical procedures, the economic

costs will become prohibitive. Developing in-

novative, disruptive medical technologies will

be critical if societies are to address the health

needs of the aging population as well as the

cost for their healthcare.

One such innovation is regenerative medi-

cine, which has become synonymous with the

medicine of the future. Rather than treating

the symptoms of chronic diseases, regenera-

tive medicine aims to help the body to cure

itself by healing and regenerating using its

own physiologic mechanisms. Many countries

already understand the importance of reduc-

ing treatment costs while improving patients’

quality of life. They promote and encourage

the regenerative medicine field through fast-

track approval pathways for regenerative

medicines, thereby reducing the development

costs of these treatments and accelerating

their commercialization.

The rapid approval of regenerative medicines

provides multiple advantages. First, it en-

ables companies to pursue the development

of medicines that could increase lifespan. It

also provides patients with faster access to

lifesaving medicines and reduces healthcare

costs. Enhanced regulatory pathways, which

attract companies to the field, already exist

in Japan, the world leader in longevity, and

in Europe. Soon, they may be created in the

U.S. as well.

Providing solutions for the challenges pre-

sented by global aging can be a significant

opportunity for the Israeli innovation and tech-

nology industry. Israel’s considerable intellec-

tual capital should be harnessed to innovate

in the healthcare field, as well as other fields

such as food-tech, agriculture and eco-tech.

IATI, the Israeli umbrella organization for the

high-tech and life-sciences industries, oper-

ates to promote these fields to enable the

Israeli economy to prosper in a competitive

global environment. IATI generates hundreds

of connections and opportunities for Israeli

entrepreneurs and companies, conducts

meetings with delegations and executives

from mega-corporations and public and gov-

ernmental entities, and supports the local

innovation and development eco-systems in

high-tech and life-tech.

Israel can and should become a global leader

in developing solutions for the challenges that

accompany the aging of our populations. Due

to the dramatic move led by the Finance Min-

ister Moshe Kachlon last summer, following

which the Economic Policies Law reduced tax

rates for medium and large high-tech compa-

nies, whether Israeli or Foreign, which already

operate in Israel or which plan to come be-

cause of the exemptions, provided that their

central R&D activity would be in Israel. The

Finance Ministry estimates that the transfer

of operations of foreign companies to Israel

would generate hundreds of millions of NIS

per annum and is also expected to result in

the hiring of more employees to positions

that would be less likely to be downsized in

light of the importance of these jobs to the

companies’ tax structure requirements. The

creation of a supportive environment for

advanced technology industries may propel

Israel to the forefront of global efforts to suc-

cessfully resolve the critical issues facing the

world’s populations– it’s not impossible, it is

happening right here, right now.

Israel can lead in the discovery of advanced

solutions for the challenges posed by aging


By Yaky Yanay

Yaky Yanay, President and COO of Pluristem and Co-Chairman of the IATI