Tech Roundup / I Robot, You Breathe: The Device That Finds Your Lungs

Citi launches Israeli accelerator, Nice goes shopping, Sentinel raises $2.5m.

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I robot, you breathe: Robots in surgery may be getting a skeptical second look but meanwhile, students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have revealed a prototype robotic intubation technology that's claimed to be more efficient. Intubation involves helping patients breathe by feeding a plastic tube into the lungs. Key here is not feeding the breathing tube into the stomach, which isn't as rare as one might think. "GuideIN Tube" is a robotic intubation device that automatically identifies the lungs using an infrared source," says the Hebrew University in a statement on behalf of its biodesign grads. The device has worked on cadavers, the university says, and clinical trials should begin next year.

Sentinel gets money: Cyber-security guard-dog Sentinel Labs has wrapped up a $2.5 million seed-funding round from venture capital funds and angel investors. The startup, which climbed to its feet under the wing of startup accelerator UpWest Labs, is developing a system to automate the detection and frustration of security attacks on enterprise data – meaning, leave management to do better things than fend off hackers.

Citi launches Israeli accelerator plan: Banking giant Citi has announced the establishment of an accelerator program for Israeli finance-technology startups, operating out of the U.S.-based bank's innovation center in Tel Aviv. Up to 10 startups can participate in each such twice-yearly accelerator plan: for the first they have until August 21 to apply. It will only accept companies that already have products or technologies for finance. What's in it for Citi, which won't be investing itself in the startups? Exposure to cutting-edge technologies that could give it a leg up against other banks. Now you know.

AOL buys for $405 million: U.S. Internet company AOL said it agreed to buy, a startup founded by the serial entrepreneur Amir Ashkenazi, for the handsome sum of $405 million, a quarter of which is in stock – and that's modest by his standards. Ashkenazi's main claim to fame beforehand was selling to eBay in 2005 for $620 million. is a platform for buying and selling digital video advertising. It's quite the exit: from its establishment has raised $48 million.

NICE Systems buying Causata: On the occasion of reporting an increase in profit, data-analysis company NICE Systems announced the imminent acquisition of Causata, a U.S. company developing real-time data analysis technology (its motto: "Give your customers what they want before they ask for it"). As Causata explains on its site, it "empowers" its customers to make marketing decisions based on actual data. As for NICE, what about its GAAP results? Net profit increased 7.5% year over year to $17 million on revenues that had risen 6% to $225 million. And how much is it paying for Causata? Not saying.

Teva gets Euronod for Lonquex: Mazal tov. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on Thursday announced European approval for it to sell Lonquex (lipegfilgrastim), a drug to alleviate certain side effects of chemotherapy, in all twenty eight countries of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Lonquex is a long-acting injectable drug that can reduce the duration of neutropenia, which happens when chemotherapy kills off granulocytes – blood cells that kill bacteria in the blood.

A vote of confidence for Teva: Meanwhile, on Wall Street the guys at Maxim have cast a vote for the Israeli drug giant with a Buy recommendation, based on the surmise that generic competition to Teva's flagship drug – Copaxone – won't exactly be exploding onto the drugs scene. Teva has always insisted that Copaxone, its proprietary therapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, will be extremely hard to replicate because the molecule is hideously complicated. Maxim analysts also surmise that the Street is dissing Teva's powerful pipeline of generic drugs gearing up to hit the market. Analysts have been chary of Teva for a while because of concern that copycat competition to Copaxone will arise, and the MS drug has been responsible for nearly half of Teva's profits.

Apple expanding in Israel: Meanwhile in Herzliya, Apple – that one – is massively building office space. Or rather it's agreed to lease 12,500 square meters of office space being built by Bayside in the Herzliya Pituach industrial zone, says Bayside (known locally as Gav Yam). The building should be ready next year. Apple is expected to roughly double its local talent from about 600 employees in Israel.

With reporting by Orr Hirschauge, Raz Smolsky, Reuters and Inbal Orpaz

Biodesign students designed a self-guided robotic intubation device that crawls to the lungs in difficult situationsCredit: Hebrew University of Jerusalem