Robert Taub, the founder of Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, which was sold to Johnson & Johnson for $438 million in 2008, has set up an Israeli development center for his new company, Belgium's Nyxoah SA. The center has begun hiring, and he intends to employ up to 40 engineers in the coming years.
Taub co-founded Nyxoah with Dr. Adi Mashiach. Taub unveiled the company in an interview with "Globes" in 2012. Nyxoah is developing a device against sleep apnea caused by the tongue blocking the trachea, causing the patient to stop breathing, wake up, and go back to sleep within seconds. As a consequence of the sleep disruption (even if the patient is unaware of it), the patient suffers from exhaustion and cardiac problems caused by the frequent halts in breathing.
Sleep apnea is a leading cause of cardiac problems, and it affects 6% of the population, including 18 million Americans and 500,000 Israelis, mostly men.
Nyxoah has developed a miniature implant that sends an electric signal to the nerves that control the tongue muscles. The stimulus sends the tongue back to its place so that it no longer blocks the trachea. The device can be set to stimulate the tongue muscles throughout the night, or to monitor the tongue and stimulate the muscles only when it blocks the trachea.
Israel is a source of innovation
Taub, who has invested in Israeli companies biomaterials developer Lifebond Ltd., dermatology drug delivery systems developer Neuroderm Ltd., and blood sugar analysis (glycoanalysis) company Glycominds Ltd. (TASE: GLCM) had said that he would make new investments in Israel or found Israeli companies, after the government sued Omrix in an intellectual property dispute. The government claims that the basis for some of the company's products was invented by a doctor who at the time worked at Sheba Medical Center Tel Hashomer Hospital, and that Omrix defrauded the inventor and the hospital. Taub and Omrix argue that the company's main patents were for products invented by a Belgian company from which Omrix was spun off. The trial is ongoing.
In an interview with "Globes" a year ago, Taub praised the EU incentives policy, and said that after foregoing his Zionism, he discovered many countries where it was better to do business. "I am happy to hire Israeli workers," he said at the time, "on the condition that they were never previously 100% government employees. I bring them to me in Europe."
Nonetheless, Taub is back in Israel, even if he is not founding a company, but to hire Israelis.
"Globes": What has changed?
Taub: "Israel is an importance source of intelligence and innovation. Over the years, I severed my business ties from all other aspects of Israel."
So Israeli engineers can be proud that it is hard to replace them?
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 10, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013