National Economic Council study discounts potential of medical-cannabis exports
The high hopes for Israel’s medical cannabis industry may be dashed by a study being prepared by Prof. Avi Simhon, chairman of the National Economic Council. The study – which was commissioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a decision on whether to approve exports – estimates that in the best case scenario exports will reach only a few hundred millionshekels annually. That’s a far cry from estimates made by the finance and health ministries last summer, which predicted as much as 4 billion shekels ($1.1 billion) in exports. Simhon said at most Israel could eventually export 50 tons of medical marijuana annually and that a harvest of that size would generate just 300 new jobs. Right now, worldwide medical marijuana exports are only three tons, but last summer’s interministerial study said the market is growing rapidly and predicted that Israel could become a dominant player if it moves quickly to meet demand. (Hagai Amit)
V-Wave raises $70 million for shunt to treat heart failure
V-Wave, an Israeli startup that has developed a minimally invasive implanted interatrial shunt device for treating patients with severe symptomatic heart failure, has closed a $70 million financing round led by the New York-based healthcare investor Deerfield Management. V-Wave said on Thursday that other first-time investors included the healthcare funds Endeavour Vision, Quark Venture and Aperture Venture Partners as well as V-Wave’s existing major investors, including strategic shareholders Johnson & Johnson and Edwards Lifesciences. The company is embarking on a clinical trial of the safety and effectiveness of its device therapy in heart failure patients. More than 26 million people suffer from chronic heart failure globally, some six million of them in the United States. “[V-Wave] technology has the potential to be the standard of care for a large segment of HF patients that continue to worsen despite the use of approved drugs and devices,” said Dr. Andrew ElBardissi, principal at Deerfield Management. (TheMarker Staff)
Guesty nabs $20 million for online vacation-property management tools
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Guesty, a Tel Aviv-based startup whose platform lets owners of vacation-rental properties manage their houses across multiple distribution channels, said last week it raised $19.75 million. The round was led by the Israeli venture capital fund TLV Partners, which joined existing investors Magma Venture Capital and Buran Venture Capital. Founded in 2013 by the twin brothers Amiad and Koby Soto, Guesty has raised $24.35 million to date and has revenues of between $1 million and $5 million a year, according to a statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Users who rent out multiple vacation properties through Airbnb and other services use Guesty’s platform to manage all aspects of the business from one dashboard, including communication with guests and staff, reservations management and handling calendars from multiple booking sites simultaneously. The company recently added integrations with Booking.com and Agoda to its list of partners.