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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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The Israeli Dash to the NASDAQ

Shmuel Zysman

Shmuel Zysman
Photo Credit: Ranit Nachum-Halevi

Israeli biomedical firms look back on a successful year on Wall Street. Are we bearing witness to “the new tech”? Will the net worth of these companies continue to climb in 2014? And how much clout do Israeli biomed companies listed on the NASDAQ wield compared to foreign companies?

Shmuel Zysman, an attorney who heads the world-renowned law firm of Zysman, Aharoni, and Gayer, which has been responsible for overseeing many of the Israeli IPOs on NASDAQ, says: “These companies epitomize risk versus opportunity, but there is certainly a good chance that this is the next big thing.”

While hi-tech companies are still trying to position themselves favorably in the new global economy that has taken root since the crisis of 2008, cleantech seems to be the field of choice for investors. Judging by the vast sums of fundraising on Wall Street, it seems that cleantech is ahead of its time. Its tremendous success has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Amidst the financial uncertainty worldwide, 2013 will be remembered as the golden age for Israeli biomed firms listed on the NASDAQ. Kamada, Oramed, Alcobra, and Mazor Robotics are just some of the Israeli companies that have expanded globally and achieved success by taking advantage of the window of opportunity afforded them by the American market. In total, they raised $287.3 million in capital. As of this writing, a number of companies are waiting for their IPOs, among them Galmed, which is seeking $35 million; Bioblast, which is aiming for $38 million; and Mediwound, which is enlisting $75 million.

In the American capital market, biomed companies are referred to as “bio-tech.” Irrespective of the nomenclature, these companies are primarily involved with developing drugs that can diagnose illness or aid in agricultural production.

Judging by the number of IPOs on the NASDAQ by companies involved in the field over the course of 2013, it’s safe to say that biomed is the new “tech.” According to figures published last year, there were nearly 50 IPOs by biomed companies who raised an aggregate total of $3 billion. With 2014 upon us, there have already been 18 IPOs who have raised an additional $1.2 billion. In the last year, the NASDAQ index measuring the performance of these companies has jumped by 77 percent, an impressive result compared to “just” 33 percent for the NASDAQ Composite.

Oded Har-Even

Oded Har-Even

“Last year was a very successful year for biomed companies listed on the NASDAQ, among them the well-known Israeli companies which we had the privilege of representing,” said Oded Har-Even, a lawyer with Sullivan & Worcester who is also a corporate partner with the firm that owns it, Zysman, Aharoni, and Gayer. Har-Even is ZAG’s point man in New York, managing all of its activities there.

“These companies continue to create value for investors,” he said. “In my estimation, judging by the first quarter of 2014, this trend is likely to continue and receive a very positive boost in markets this coming year.”

Har-Even knows what he is talking about. This year, as part of his duties at ZAG-S&W in New York, he has had a first-hand look at the IPOs, whether representing the companies themselves or representing the investment bank Aegis, which has become the dominant player in the biomed IPO market in the United States.

Among the companies that ZAG-S&W has assisted are Oramed, Alcobra, Mazor Robotics, SuperCom, and Micronet. For all intents and purposes, the firm has handled the lion’s share of all IPOs of Israeli and American companies in the U.S. capital market. In 2012, the firm also handled the fundraising efforts of Pluristem Therapeutics, enlisting $32 million. It also represented Aegis Capital Group, which served as the exclusive underwriter of Rosetta Genomics, the company whose IPO was worth $40 million.

About the Author: Ranit Nachum-Halevi is a consultant to real estate companies, and former senior real estate correspondent for The Marker, Haaretz's daily financial supplement. She has been working in Israel's media for more than 15 years. You can reach her at ranit.nh@gmail.com.

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