J&J, Orbimed to bid jointly in biotech incubator tender

Johnson & Johnson has made only a few investments in Israel in recent years, but its teaming up with Orbimed in the tender may indicate a change.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and OrbiMed Advisors LLC will jointly bid in the Office of the Chief Scientist's biotech incubator tender. Johnson & Johnson, which has early-stage operations in Israel, will bid in the tender through Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC).

JJDC has made only a few investments in Israel in recent years, but its teaming up with Orbimed in the tender may indicate a change. JJDC VP venture investments Zeev Zehavi handles investments in Israel and Europe. Johnson & Johnson is very active in Israel; subsidiaries include Biosense Webster Inc., acquired in the mid-1990s and which now has over $1 billion in annual sales; and Omrix, acquired in 2009. The two companies have hundreds of employees in Israel.

Orbimed Israel, which manages $222 million, is a major investor in Israeli life sciences companies. It has invested $30 million to date, including $7.12 million in RDD Pharma, $4.3 million in Otic Pharma Ltd., $8 million each in Medigus Ltd. (TASE:MDGS) and BiolineRX Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX); TASE:BLRX), and $3 million in cCam Biotherapeurics Ltd.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) invested $20 million in Orbimed Israel's first financing round in 2010. Although Teva has stopped making independent investments in early-stage ventures, except in its core businesses of neurology and the central nervous system, and cancelled its plans to establish a corporate venture capital fund, it has kept its contractual commitment to Orbimed. Teva's management may consider this as a logical financial investment that will not detract from management's attention.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 19, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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