GCMI's accelerator has access to equipment young companies need to prototype and test their products. Photo: GCMI

The Atlanta-based Global Center for Medical Innovation announced Wednesday that it will launch an accelerator to bring innovative Israeli medical-device companies to market in the U.S. 

The GCMI will partner with Haifa, Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus to identify companies with promising technologies and whisk them to Atlanta for six months to a year, guiding them through the commercialization process and helping them access funding. 

GCMI’s A1 accelerator, launched last year, helps companies design, prototype, conduct trials and learn about the ultimate approvals they’ll need in order to sell in the U.S. 

Photo by Mike Glatzer Photography #mikeglatzerphotos

While it’s a smoother road to market for these foreign companies, the joint initiative could have positive effects for patients as well: Israeli companies are known for high-tech solutions that drive down costs while improving care, GCMI CEO Tiffany Wilson said in a statement. 

“We believe our commercialization pathway expertise will increase the speed at which Israeli medtech innovations achieve key milestones and ultimately FDA clearance for use in the United States,” she said. 

GCMI will maintain a presence at the Rambam hospital to help identify potential participants. That connection will also provide entree for Atlanta research organizations looking for access to Rambam’s substantial patient populations, thought leaders, digital health assets and clinical trials. Rambam’s website says it has 1,000 beds and even more physicians. 

The collaboration stemmed from discussions between the two partners with help from Conexx: American Israel Business Connector, the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, which was the venue for the Oct. 10 unveiling of the partnership. 

While it lags certain cities like Boston, Atlanta does have a history as a landing pad for certain Israeli medical innovations.  Given Imaging (listed as a partner on Rambam’s website) brought its pill cameras to the city nearly two decades ago, ultimately leading to its acquisition for more than $860 million. Alpha Omega USA uses Alpharetta as its North American base for selling equipment that helps map brain activity and improve neurosurgery. 

This is the second agreement to foster tangible technology exchanges between Georgia and Israel this year alone. In June, Georgia Department of Economic Development signed a deal with the Israel Innovation Authority to fund joint research projects between companies in key technology sectors. The authority and Southern Co. each put $1 million toward the initiative. 

Israeli Consul General Judith Varnai Shorer said Georgia has been named one of the government of Israel’s “key states,” reflecting its growing importance in U.S.-Israel economic ties.

Guy Tessler, CEO of Conexx, said the new accelerator will benefit parties up and down the value chain. 

“Basing this accelerator in Atlanta not only strengthens the ties between both communities, but it provides superior access to potential customers, vendor and manufacturer partners,” Mr. Tessler said. 

Conexx is set to lead its annual Business Expedition to Israel Oct. 20-25, and the organization will hold a golf tournament fundraiser Oct. 29. Learn more at www.conexx.org.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...