MUSC hosts U.S.-Israel exchange

Jonathan Zucker

Late last year in this space, I remarked on the technology connection steadily developing between South Carolina and Israel, thanks in large part to Charleston's Zucker family.

Late last month, it was the incrementally improving tech-transfer scene at the Medical University of South Carolina that filled this column.

Perhaps it makes sense that this week comes progress on both fronts, in the form of the U.S.-Israel Neurotechnology Business Exchange at MUSC.

The outcome of South Carolina delegations to Israel each of the past two years, this latest biotech get-together is meant to match seven Israeli companies with more than 50 business people, researchers and doctors from the Palmetto State.

The program starts tonight with a reception at the Zuckers' Tristan restaurant near the City Market and continues Tuesday with a series of presentations and talks at MUSC's Strom Thurmond Conference Center.

The Israeli companies include Tel Aviv-based NeuroQuest, whose Alzheimer's blood test attracted an investment from the Zucker family's North Charleston-based InterTech Group and that is looking to set up a Charleston office.

Others have assessments or treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Economic Minister Nili Shalev and the head of the neuroscience laboratory at Tel Aviv University lead the Israeli contingent.

MUSC president Dr. Ray Greenberg and Dr. Bruce Frenkel, who will present the state university's new Institute for Applied Neurosciences, are among the South Carolina speakers.

While SC-Israel Collaboration Chairman Jonathan Zucker and co-organizer Tom Glaser, president of the southeast's American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, hope more deals will be in the works by Tuesday night, one is already on the agenda.

Glaser said that Tuesday Shalev and S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt will announce “a new collaborative fund to support joint research and development between Israeli and South Carolina companies and universities.”

He also said the Charleston neurosciences matchmaking conference won't be the last such event. Similar business exchanges focusing on health care/insurance information technology and automotive could come to Columbia and Greenville. Based on the recent history of this international tech connect, he's probably right.

Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_ brendan.