The Sanara Ventures digital healthcare incubator in which Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) is a partner with Philips Healthcare, is just one example of the connection that is being rebuilt between the Israeli drugmaker and the local biotech and healthcare startup ecosystem.
The connection was broken off by former CEOs Jeremy Levin and Erez Vigodman. Levin focused more on neurology and oncology treatments and broke off cooperation with drug developers in other fields. Teva abandoned many partnerships in which investments were not considered to be justified.
Current CEO Kare Schultz's aggressive streamlining plans have included the closure of several Teva plants in Israel and some Israeli investors have begun questioning whether the company is still committed to Israel and whether it should still be considered as the country's flagship company.
However, a source close to Teva has told "Globes" that there has been surprise at the attachment that Schultz has developed to Israel. The source said, "On the quiet, Schultz has not only moved his home to Israel, as required by the company's regulations, so have a number of top executives previously based in Europe."
The source continued, "Teva has recently initiated a process of reconnecting with Israel. In the first stage, an examination has been undertaken to find out what the local industry has to say about the company. What they heard was not flattering. The charge was that Teva had been deeply involved in Israeli industry and cut itself off overnight. Then it spoke ambiguously. People in the company would develop a connection and then others in the company would discontinue it. On top of all this, it was not considered a potential partner because it was not an innovative company."
Recently, Teva has begun contacting companies in an orderly way, according to their areas of activity and in sectors where Israel is strong. There have been meetings with dozens of startups including drug developers and digital health companies. It is still not clear where all these discussions will lead but meanwhile companies have been hearing whether Teva wants further talks or not, in a timely and orderly manner.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 18, 2019
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