NIS 4 million rescue keeps biotech start-up NasDax alive

Biotech start-up NasVax received a lifesaving NIS 4 million infusion of capital Thursday from two investor groups in exchange for a 45% allocation of shares (31% fully diluted ) at an almost 20% discount. Just three days earlier the company, managed by Guy Yachin, announced it would need to lay off staff and cut expenses to the bone if fresh funding didn't materialize. The new investors include Dr. Asher Shmulovich, a cardiologist with 20 biotech investments under his belt, and David Naveh, a former vice president with Bayer Corporation. The stock market reacted Thursday by boosting the company's share price 7.3%, remarkable considering the sharp dilution of equity but with the realization that the alternative would invariably have been worse. VasDax develops antibodies against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. (Yoram Gabison )

Salt Industries restricted to building on just 10% of land in Atlit and Eilat

Shari Arison's Israel Salt Industries will be granted building permits by the Israel Lands Authority for just 10% of the land it holds in Atlit and Eilat, rather than 50% and 30% respectively, under a controversial agreement reached 10 years ago. This was the conclusion of a 47-page opinion submitted Thursday by ILA legal adviser Yaakov Kvint. The land, on 3,000 dunams of industrial use evaporations pools - 2,300 dunams in Atlit and 700 in Eilat - will be rezoned for residential use. (Raz Smolsky )

Clutches make a comeback

Now that auto importers have discovered the demand for cheap cars in the mini and super-mini categories, they're starting a drive to bring in cheap, small family-sized cars featuring three pedals. Telcar, the importer for Kia, is starting to sell a manual version of the Rio sedan for NIS 90,000. The car has a 1.4-liter engine that delivers 109 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission, and comes with a seven-year warrantee. Safety features include six airbags and a stability control system. Peugeot and Citroen importer David Lubinski is also preparing to offer manual gearshifts for its Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysee. Each of the two models will be powered by a 1.2-liter, 72 horsepower engine and priced at NIS 92,000. (Daniel Schmil )

Pelephone recognizes workers union

Pelephone workers seeking to win collective-bargaining rights scored a major victory on Sunday when management agreed to recognize their Histadrut-affiliated union. Pelephone's decision ends a struggle that lasted several months and has included a partial strike that began about a month ago. Workers at the company's service centers returned to their jobs after Pelephone, the cell phone unit of Bezeq, said it would recognize the union as soon as the process of counting union-membership forms had been completed. The process began on Sunday at Pelephone headquarters in Givatayim with representatives of the Histadrut and management. It appears about half of Pelephone's employees expressed an interest in joining. "The recognition being given to organized labor is an historic event - the first time that the Histadrut is presenting workers in the cellular sector," Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said. (Haim Bior )