Business in Brief: Israel 15th in Global Innovation Survey

Partner gives an edge in its roll-out of 4G cell service to its Orange customers over 012 Mobile users; Office of Chief Scientist funding Kadimastem’s ALS research.

Israel ranks 15th in global innovation survey

Israel ranked 15th place in this year’s annual global innovation survey developed by Cornell University, the INSEAD business school and the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations, and released last week. The ranking is the result of a survey of 143 economies around the world and is based on 81 indicators. As was the case in last year’s survey, Switzerland topped the list, followed by the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the United States. Israel took the top spot among countries in the Northern Africa and Western Asia region, where it was followed by Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. Addressing the factors that most of the top 25 countries have in common, the authors of the survey noted they have “well-linked innovation ecosystems, where investments in human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity.” (TheMarker)

Partner favors Orange customers in 4G roll-out

At least 150,000 of Partner Communication’s Orange cellular customers have already been switched to its new faster 4G, or 4th generation, cellular service, which provides download speeds that are 3 to 4 times faster than the prevailing 3G technology. Partner appears to be giving a preference to customers of its Orange brand over users of its cut-rate 012 Mobile brand as it gradually rolls out the new faster service. As of the beginning of the week, the company was allowing Orange customers to sign up for the new service but had not given the option to 012 Mobile customers. For its part, however, the company said in the course of this week, it would enable customers of 012 Mobile to begin signing up on-line for the new service and in addition, users can request 4G access by contacting 012 Mobile customer service. As of Monday, the company’s website informed customers that the service was gradually being made available to its clients. (Amitai Ziv)

Office of Chief Scientist funding Kadimastem’s ALS research

Kadimastem, which develops stem cell drugs, notably for diabetes and neuro-degenerative disorders, has received increased funding from the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Economy Ministry for the development of treatment of ALS, the company announced this week. The 1.4 million shekels ($410,000) in additional funding will boost the chief scientist’s office’s support this year for the Nes-Tziona based company to 10 million shekels. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative condition that affects the use of voluntary muscles. The grant to Kadimastem will fund half of the company’s costs in its effort to develop ALS therapies. There is currently no cure for the disease, which involves progressive neuron degeneration, ultimately resulting in the patients’ deaths. (Dror Reich)