A year ago, 26 South Carolina scientists, businessmen and economic development officials went to Israel to explore potential collaborations between the state and the Middle East nation.
They toured universities and hospitals, met with business leaders and government officials and learned how Israel launches promising young businesses, some of which might be interested in expanding in South Carolina.
One of those interactions was between Dr. Jacobo Mintzer, an Alzheimer's specialist at MUSC, and researchers at NeuroQuest, a Tel Aviv firm focusing on blood-based immune biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, technology Mintzer calls revolutionary.
That meeting was just the beginning, other Charleston delegation members said.
A smaller group, including organizers Jonathan Zucker of the North Charleston-based InterTech Group and Tom Glaser of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, went back recently to continue the conversation. And the fruits are starting to ripen.
This month, NeuroQuest announced it had received $500,000 in financing led by InterTech and the Maryland/Israel Trendlines Fund. Mintzer is now the company's VP for clinical affairs.
That capital, human scientific know-how and South Carolina's business-friendly reputation now have NeuroQuest considering opening a U.S. headquarters in Charleston. Mintzer didn't know exactly when it will happen or where it will be located.
“What I know is that they are committed that when they start their operations in the U.S., those operations will be in Charleston,” Minzter said by phone last week from Israel, where he was meeting with the company's board.
The company is now in talks with the S.C. Research Authority to secure an investment from the S.C. Launch program and is also seeking more funding.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906.