“Israeli research has become an export product.” That was a headline quote in a Hebrew newspaper, from January 1960, of a statement made by the first director-general of YEDA, Gen. Eliahu Ben-Bachur. YEDA Research and Development had been founded a few months earlier, the first technology transfer company in Israel and only the second in the world. Today, sixty years later, YEDA has set a world record for the highest profits for a researcher, in comparison with all other academic tech transfer bodies around the world. Sales of products and intellectual property arising from Institute research amount to some 37 billion dollars a year.
During those years, YEDA registered some 2,200 families of patents, amounting to approximately 15,000 individual patents in various countries. In the past decade alone, YEDA has applied for roughly 900 new patents.
The list of impressive achievements is definitely something worth celebrating. At the end of 2019, a special event was held in the Michael Sela Auditorium on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus. The Institute’s leadership, scientists, YEDA staff and business partners were all there to help mark the sixty years of YEDA with speeches, videos and a stand-up comedy performance. The event was also a farewell party for outgoing Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Mordechai (Mudi) Sheves.
Gil Granot-Mayer thanked all the attendees, saying: “Bringing a scientific discovery to market is a long process – one that is fraught with complications and crises – and it is not self-evident that you would agree to join us on this journey and trust us to bring results. I thank the Institute leadership for giving us the responsibility of handling the Institute’s intellectual property. This is one of the most valuable economic holdings we have, and it, in many respects, ensures the Institute’s ability to remain on the forefront of science. What vision those founders of YEDA had when, sixty years ago, they decided to found a company for market application in the heart of a basic research institute!”
Prof. Michael Sela, a past president of the Institute who holds patents for four drugs, was a guest of honor, as well as being the chair of YEDA Trust, which holds YEDA’s shares. Granot-Mayer thanked Sela, saying: “Michael is an example of a scientist who is not only involved, he cares deeply about the success of YEDA.”
Prof. Mudi Sheves, whose leadership over the past thirteen years has led YEDA from success to success, was thanked in the name of the entire company and its staff, and Granot-Mayer wished the best of luck to incoming Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Irit Sagi, who replaces Sheves.