A farmer harvesting tobacco leaves in Cuba in February 2014.
A farmer harvesting tobacco leaves in Cuba in February 2014. CollPlant got a key patent for producing human collagen from tobacco leaves.
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CollPlant wins key U.S. patent
Israeli medical product developer CollPlant said yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark office had approved a key patent relating to its method for producing human collagen from tobacco leaves via genetic engineering. The patent, which is valid until 2029, will give the company a significant competitive advantage for products it plans to launch in the United States. It follows earlier patent approval for the basic technology used by CollPlant, which is developing a family of products to repair tissue and heal wounds. In related news, the company said Israel’s Health Ministry has approved clinical trials for its flowable gel for treating wounds. CollPlant plans to start the trial in the coming weeks. The company finished up 1.2%, at 25 agorot (7 cents), in Tel Aviv yesterday. (Yoram Gabison)

Orbotech rejects shareholder’s demand, mostly
Yavneh-based Orbotech, a maker of equipment used by electronics manufacturers, yesterday rejected demands issued a week ago by the Ion Israel hedge fund to replace part of its board. It did, however, agree to consider ending the practice of staggering elections for directors. “The board has given careful consideration to Ion’s requests and proposals and determined they are not in the best interest of the company or its shareholders,” Orbotech said in a letter to the Israeli fund. Ion is reportedly seeking to replace the four directors up for election at Orbotech’s next general shareholders meeting, set for July 10, and wants the company to examine what to do with its $240 million cash hoard. If Orbotech does revise the system for electing directors, the change will go into effect next year, the company said. Orbotech shares were up 0.4%, at $15.12, midafternoon yesterday in New York. (TheMarker Staff)

TA-25 index snaps five-day losing streak
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index snapped a five-session losing streak yesterday as the government revised its first-quarter economic growth figures higher. The benchmark index as well as the TA-100 rebounded from losses earlier in the day to end 0.3% higher, at 1,397.14 and 1,256.49 points, respectively. Turnover was a light 876 million shekels ($256 million). Leading the gainers was drug discovery company Compugen, which closed 4.8% up, at 29.11 shekels, after it reported positive experimental results for CGEN-15052, a novel immune checkpoint candidate for cancer immunotherapy. Brack Capital Real Estate rose 3.3%, to 230.30 shekels, and textile company Avgol advanced 3.3%, to a close of 3.38 shekels. Among heavy capitalization stocks, Bank Leumi finished 2.3% higher, at 13.65 shekels. Bond prices were lower, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond falling 0.27% and its inflation-indexed counterpart losing 0.34%, a day after the government reported that the May consumer price index edged up just 0.1%. (Dror Reich)