IDEA Bio-Medical Launches into the U.S. Market

Rehovot, Israel

IDEA Bio-Medical’s story is an example of how it all comes together.  On Thursday, May 26, 2011, Tom Glaser, President of the Atlanta-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce met with Shlomo Turgeman, CEO of IDEA Machine Development, and of IDEA Bio-Medical.  The Chamber’s representative in Israel, Ilan Friedman, had arranged the meeting at Cup-O-Joe’s in Ra’anana, Israel, with the aim of finding a way by which the Chamber could support Shlomo’s Rehovot-based company in penetrating the US market.  Consequently Friedman joined IDEA Bio-Medical to support these efforts and take advantage of a golden window of opportunity.

IDEA Bio-Medical was spun out of IDEA Machine Development – an established Original Design Manufacturer that specializes in precision optics and laser-based technologies, and boasts such clients as KLA Tencor, HP, and Orbotech.  The company aimed to commercialize unique software and hardware technologies developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science around biological cell imaging, taking advantage of its expertise in laser and optical technologies and its successful track record in business.  This resulted in the establishment of IDEA Bio-Medical, which produced Argus WiScan® – the foremost advanced biological cell-imaging system that provides very high quality imaging, unmatched speeds of image acquisition, and unparalleled flexibility in developing experiments – all at a competitive price when compared with such companies as GE, Becton Dickinson, and Thermo Fisher. 

IDEA Bio-Medical developed a truly unique and competitive system, but it found it challenging to overcome its well established and reputable competition.  So company management took off to the United States and to Europe to learn the market and to identify a competitive point of entry.  The result, only a few months later, was Hermes WiScan® - a highly competitively priced workstation that enables researchers to run pre-defined applications at the push of a button, using an extremely easy-to-use touch-screen mechanism.  Image quality is high, and acquisition speed is exceptional, and most importantly – one need not be an expert to operate the system.  The combination of capabilities, ease-of-use and price make it a must-have cell screening system for almost every lab environment.

“We certainly don’t lack competition,” says CEO Shlomo Turgeman, “but we address a common issue among biomedical researchers – the ability to combine High Content, with High Throughput, and do so in a system that is very inexpensive, and extremely easy to use.”  It was this unique combination of capabilities and price that sparked the interest of Stephen Lanier, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Research at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  “Tom Glaser called me up one day and asked if I would agree to meet with Ilan Friedman to learn about a cell imaging system he represents.  It peaked my interest, and I agreed to have our researchers take a closer look at the system.  Ilan and his team returned a few weeks later with the system, and our researchers loved it.”  Said Lanier.

“Of course you should believe in the product you’re selling, but when you receive such amazing feedback from the people who would end up using it, you know you’ve got a winner.”  Said Ilan Friedman.  Several weeks later the Chamber, together with Jonathan Zucker, President of the InterTech Group in Charleston, SC, led a 24-person delegation to Israel where Jonathan met with Shlomo, and where the entire group got a chance to see the system in action at the Weizmann Institute.  Shortly afterwards the system was flown back to Charleston for additional evaluations.

“The system is amazing.  We have two other systems in our lab, an InCell 1000, and an InCell2000, both of which were very expensive, and both of which take up a significant footprint in our lab.  Because they’re so difficult to use, many researchers don’t even bother with them.  Hermes WiScan is small, takes less than an hour to set up, and works amazingly!”  Said Steven XXX, Researcher at XXXXX….  “Several of our researchers used the machine, and they all seemed to be impressed by its speed, ease-of-use, and the quality of its images.  The system is so easy - it doesn’t require you to be an expert on these types of systems, which means that all of our researchers could use it with very little training.”  Said Yuri……

“The feedback was compelling” said Lanier.  So we decided to go for it.  MUSC is very focused on innovative research, and employs technologies and creative ideas to achieve its goals and its mission.  We’re used to promoting such thinking, and there we see our relationship with IDEA Bio-Medical as a great win for us - we’re proud to be their first US-based installation” he added. 

“This is a very important step for us, and demonstrates how working with a community of friends in the United States can bring results,” says Friedman.  “We’re now working hard to establish distribution agreements, and to expand our reach into other research institutions and into pharmaceutical companies.  We also have a few other ideas up our sleeves for taking this market by a storm.  Stay tuned – this is just the beginning.”




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