Do you know where your child is surfing? If you don't, you're in the 63 percent majority, according to a report submitted to the Knesset's Committee on the Rights of the Child last week. The commission was debating the online dangers lurking for our young'uns during the summer break, which is halfway over by the way. Shas MK Yakov Margi pointed out that the Internet is the new playground; Orna Heliinger of the Israeli Internet Society claimed that the average 14-year-old gets 500 WhatsApp messages a day! Kids from Himmelfarb High School told the committee they were completely unaware of Education Ministry efforts to, well, educate them in online safety. Conclusions? None that this writer discerned, but it was one dandy game of passing the hot virtual potato. Somebody noted that there are technologies to help parents monitor their kids' virtual activities, if they want to.
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Scodix gets money, partner: Digital printing company Scodix has raised $5 million from Battery Ventures, following a $14 million financing round in January, and has recruited the U.S. company Color-Logic as a technology partner. Scodix says it will be using the money to expand its 3D offering for graphics and that its goal is to become a world leader in "digital solutions that better printing." That's that. Now, what does it mean that Scodix is partnering with Color-Logic, based in West Chester, Ohio? "Both Scodix and Color-Logic add dramatic special effects to digital and offset printing processes. But together, the two special effects produce some of the most outstanding printed products ever seen," the American company stated.
SciVac envisions global use of 3G hepatitis B vaccine: The Rehovot-based drug company SciVac is seeking U.S. approval to expand global sales of its already-widely used hepatitis B vaccine, a product which the company says could stem global growth in the disease. Some 1.2 million people die each year from HBV, 100 times more than HIV, while as many as 400 million people are carriers. SciVac has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for distribution of its vaccine to dialysis and HIV sufferers in the United States. Meanwhile, the vaccine, which the company says is more effective than older vaccines because it apes the virus more closely, is used in Israel, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines and some African countries.
Teva, Lonza divorce: Still in the pharma scene, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and the Swiss drug company Lonza Group are scrapping their collaboration on developing, making and marketing biosimilars, the two companies said. Biosimilars are copycat versions of injectable biotech medicines that have gone off-patent; their active ingredient is made by a living organism or is derived from a living organism, rather than being synthesized in the lab. The companies' mutual decision to end the venture, which began in 2009, will allow both companies to concentrate on their own strategies and expertise, they said in a joint statement last Thursday. Less prosaically, Lonza missed its second-quarter forecasts and admitted that the collaboration is soaking up more money than anticipated.
Meanwhile, Teva loses in U.S. court: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone will lose patent protection in 2014 rather than 2015, following a ruling by a U.S. appeals court on Friday. The court ruled in favor of other generic giants developing copycat generics of Copaxone: a team of Novartis with Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and a second team of Mylan with Natco Pharma. Teva says it will be appealing. Patents on the proprietary drug, which accounts for about 20% of Teva's sales and half its profit, had been set to expire in September 2015. But are equity analysts dismayed? They are not: Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse said Teva shares were little affected by the unfavorable court ruling because many analysts and investors had already assumed that Copaxone, which had sales of $4 billion in 2012, would face competition from at least one mimic in 2014.
MobileSpaces scores $8.6 million: The Israeli startup MobileSpaces, which is developing security technology for enterprise mobile applications, has closed a second $8.6 million financing round, bringing total raised capital to nearly $12 million. The company will be using the proceeds to hire developers and to expand sales and marketing. All of two years old, the firm has 20 employees, half of whom work in development in Israel while the other half work in marketing and sales in the U.S. Its solution enables enterprises to fully control the smartphones and mobile devices used by staffers in such a way that enterprise information is kept safe without intruding on the privacy of the users. MobileSpaces says it's the only one that can secure all existing applications in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
TASE loses top brass: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Chairman Saul Bronfeld resigned last Thursday, one week after the stock exchange’s CEO, Ester Levanon, handed in her resignation. Why? Well, on Wednesday Israel Securities Authority head Shmuel Hauser sent a letter to the exchange's board saying Bronfeld had failed in his job. Ostensibly the major beef with the TASE executives is shrinking volumes of trade, but it's arguable what is to blame for that. Bronfeld claims "disproportional regulation" is to blame for the TASE's travails, and claimed the ISA was unhelpfully meddlesome: "The authority has blurred the lines between legitimate supervision and management intervention," he wrote in his letter of resignation. Meanwhile, many had predicted that trading turnovers in Tel Aviv would take a huge hit when Israel was upgraded by the FTSE and MSCI to developed-market status, making it a minnow among giants, rather than a giant (economy-wise at least) among minnows in the pool of the emerging markets. Let us for instance glance at this chart showing trading volumes
With reporting by Orr Hirschauge, Zvi Zrahiya and Reuters