When the global market generates billions of dollars, Israeli entrepreneurs don't remain on the sidelines.
Enzymotec is a fledgling biotech company that recently graduated from the greenhouse stage and settled in Migdal Haemek. The company produces lipid-based ingredients for the neutraceuticals and functional food markets. The company is owned by the Galam Group of Kibbutz Maanit, the Ofer brothes and the venture capital fund Millenium. Its products are sold from New Zealand, Australia and the Far East to Europe and Canada.
Enzymotec is active in three areas: cardiovascular care, brain health for improving cognitive performance and infant development. One of its success stories is a functional chocolate bar introduced in Germany called IQ Boost, which it claims can improve a child's cognitive development. It might be offered to a student before taking a test or an adult with declining cognitive abilities.
Ironically, Enzymotec's operations in Israel are rather limited. Local company Fischer Pharmaceuticals partnered with Enzymotec last year to launch REMIND for memory, concentration and mental alertness, targeting the over-40 crowd. The two companies are on the verge of marketing another product aimed at reducing the chances of heart disease.
"The level of development of this market in Israel is very low," says Ariel Katz, Enzymotec CEO. Katz says the company is about to market an innovative development for treating children suffering from concentration problems. Currently, these children are treated with drugs from the controversial Ritalin family. Their food supplement, according to Katz, successfully passed clinical trials conducted at Ichilov Hospital, in which the product's efficiency was proven. Katz admits Enzymotec's business field is not particularly sexy, but says the food industry of the future will look like upgraded basic food products.
"Our primary expertise is in lipids - fats that usually have a negative image but are impossible to do without. We reengineer these fats into a structure that brings benefit," says Katz. (A.S.)