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A delegation from the British pharmacy chain Boots is scheduled to conduct a hunting expedition in Israel later this month. Liz Morgan, director of the company's New Product Introduction & Development team, told Haaretz that the trip was prompted by talk about Israel's prowess as a promising reservoir of biotechnology and medical equipment know-how. The group plans to meet with 40 local companies.

Morgan said that Boots wants to share its experience in the global health products market and to speak directly with investors and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. The delegation plans to meet with companies that are developing innovative consumer products in the cosmetics, health and quality-of-life sectors. She noted that meetings already have been scheduled with 32 of the 84 companies that asked to meet with the Boots representatives, and added that 10 time slots are still open.

News of the hunting trip was spread by Gil Erez, minister for commercial affairs at the Israeli Embassy in London, who initiated the visit, as well as by the Israel Export Institute and MATI, the Small Business Development Center.

Among the companies lined up to meet with the Boots delegation are Hlavin Industries, Ein Gedi, NanoDerma, Card Guard, Second Opinion, TransPharma Medical and Tulip Medical.

The Boots center for innovation is responsible for seeking out new products for the company's stores. In some cases, the company wants exclusive rights to the products. The center, established in 2007 as a not-for-profit institution, does not invest money in product development, but it does share its experience in the international market, particularly in Britain and Europe, and promises its partners shelf space in its stores at the end of the process.

With 2,500 stores in Britain and distribution agreements with about 100,000 pharmacies in Europe, Boots is considered the leading drugstore chain on the continent.