Prolor Biotech Inc. (AMEX: PBTH; TASE: PBTH) founder, Dr. Fuad Fares, who invented the company's technology, is probably the first Druze life sciences entrepreneur in Israel, and is the first Druze member of the Council for Higher Education.
In an interview with Hebrew daily "Ma'ariv" in 2010, Fares said that he had never dreamed of getting rich, because the subject never came up in the village of Hurfeish during the 1960s and 70s. "I wanted to be a doctor," he said. "We didn’t have even one doctor in the village, even though we were very close to the northern border."
But the admission requirements at Israeli medical schools were too high, and Fares decided to study biology, which put him on the path to becoming a teacher. "I didn’t want to end my career as a village high-school teacher," he said, "I thought that I could go farther."
Fares entered research when he responded to an ad for a research assistant. Seeking a student work, he was captivated by the magic of the laboratory. When he was accepted for M.Sc. studies at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, he deviated from the village practice by moving his family to the student dormitories. When he sought to study for a higher degree in the US, his family was reluctant.
"In 1989, no one from our village had left the country with his family," he said. But he insisted, and during his post-doctorate work at Washington University in St. Louis, he developed Prolor's technology.
"65% of Druze students are women. Men are drafted into the army, and after the army, they are strongly urged by their parents to get engaged and marry. They seek a way to earn a living quickly, and they lack the stamina needed for academic studies and a career. There are only 29 Druze doctoral students in Israel today, which is very few," he said in the interview.
Fares has already achieved the dream that many scientists in the pharmaceutical industry consider more important than getting rich, but which only a few achieve: bringing a drug to the market. The technology he developed at Washington University was exclusively licensed for fertility treatments to Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK), which in 2010, launched Elonva, a FSH hormone that is injected once a week, instead of once a day.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 24, 2013
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