German company Fresenius Medical Care, the world's leading company in treatment of kidney diseases, is stepping up its business in Israel with investment in digital health in Israel and in Israeli companies.
Fresenius has been directly active in Israel since 2016. Managed in Israel by managing director Ariel Ikan, it has since become the owner of 30 institutes treating 2,300 kidney patients from all of the health funds. These institutes provide mainly dialysis treatment.
In the coming months, the company plans to invest over €1 million in "Nephrology Patient Computer File," a special digital project scheduled to end at the end of 2019. There are currently no specific databases for dialysis patients. This database is designed to facilitate drawing conclusions about the best quality treatment, develop protocols for integrating dialysis with drug treatment, compare the protocols in different countries, etc. Fresenius will share its information with the health funds.
Today, since the information about patients is managed by the health funds, while dialysis is carried out in special clinics, there is no unified database for nephrology patients. The plan is to connect Fresenius's information with that of the health funds.
In July 2018, Fresenius's venture capital fund took part in an investment in an Israeli company, the fund's first investment outside the US. The fund invested $2 million of the $10 million raised by Vectorious Medical Technologies, which develops a device for measuring blood pressure in the lung for early diagnosis of chronic heart failure events. Metabolic diseases such as chronic heart failure are frequently accompanied by kidney diseases, and deterioration in one of them affects the other. This could account for Fresenius's interest in the cardiology company. Fresenius also plans to invest in clinical research in Israel.
In his visit to Israel on the occasion of the launching of the venture, Fresenius VP EMEA clinical & therapeutic governance Stefano Stuard said that the public was not very conscious of kidney diseases, even though the diseases were very common. He added that intervention could prevent these diseases and prevent them from getting worse when a person was already ill. Treatment is expensive and very difficult for the health system, while deterioration is slow and painful. All of these characteristics should make the public interested in these diseases, but that fact that they attack mainly elderly patients (although not necessarily very old patients) affects their public visibility.
Without dialysis, kidney patients will die within a few days or weeks, but dialysis can extend life by years, even many years. Patients in need of dialysis have a poor quality of life, but they do not necessarily require nursing care.
Fresenius, founded in 1990, had 114,000 employees worldwide as of its most recent reports (it has since acquired a number of activities in China). The company had €17.7 billion in revenue in 2017, and its market cap is €17.5 billion.
Fresenius is controlled by the Fresenius group, which also has business in hospitals.
The company's share price recently fell as a result of the general decline in stock markets and a warning to investors stating that it would not meet its growth targets, which were too ambitious. Fresenius now expects small, but stable, growth in 2019.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 27, 2018
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